Young have ‘no choice’ but to rely on inheritance to buy first home

Shelter has called for more affordable homes to be built.''Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Shelter has called for more affordable homes to be built.''Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
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A GENERATION of young adults have no choice but to wait for the death of a loved one and the hope of an inheritance to enable them to get on the housing ladder, a charity has warned.

Nearly half of parents whose children have not bought a home think their only hope of getting on the property ladder is to wait for an inheritance from them, according to research from Shelter.

Erin Whelan and her daughter Poppy.

Erin Whelan and her daughter Poppy.

The charity said many parents feel high house prices and a lack of affordable homes are leaving their children priced out, as the latest Government figures show homeownership levels have collapsed among young adults in the last decade.

Further research among homeowners aged between 25 and 34 years old found that one in six of them had relied on inheritance from a relative in order to do so - and nearly one third used cash gifts for a deposit.

In contrast to the younger generation, just one in 20 people aged 55 and over said they had used an inheritance to buy their first home.

Erin Whelan, 32, of Wakefield, was able to buy her own home when she fell pregnant at the age of 20 using an inheritance left by her father, who died when she was 16, as a deposit.

She is already planning for the future of her daughter Poppy, who is now 11.

Miss Whelan, an emergency care technician at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “At 32 I have been a home-owner for 11 years, which has put my in a massively favourable position compared to that of my friends - but I’m really lucky. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without that inheritance.

“I want Poppy to be in the same situation when she’s in her mid-twenties, but I don’t want my death to be the only way she could achieve that. I worry that she won’t have the cash flow to be able to buy without my help.”

Ben Charlesworth, 22, of Barnsley, was able to buy his first home last year after his mother gave him a £7,000 inheritance left by his grandfather.

“I had been renting for six months and during that time there was no way I could save up for a deposit,” he said. “It was only because of my mum’s inheritance that I was able to buy.”

The survey also uncovered the psychological impact of not being able to buy without inheritance, with more than one in 10 saying this made them feel inadequate or dependent on others.

Another study by the charity released last month showed that Yorkshire families who are never able to get onto the housing ladder are £440,000 worse off over a lifetime than those who buy a home in their twenties.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: “No parent wants to think the only way for their children ever to own a home of their own is through losing someone they love.

“It’s a tragic consequence of our housing shortage that, even when they are working hard and saving what they can, a generation of young adults have no choice but to rely on the prospect of inheritance to have any hope of buying their first home.”

Mr Robb said successive governments have failed to build “anywhere near enough affordable homes”.

He urged politicians to “give back hope to the priced-out generation” by making a “real and lasting commitment to building the affordable homes we desperately need”.

The findings came after property website Rightmove reported that house sellers’ asking prices across England and Wales reached a new record high of £286,133 in April, amid a lack of choice for home-buyers.

Government figures recently showed that in England, people aged between 25 and 34 are now more likely to be renting privately than buying their own home. Among the same group, homeownership has dropped from 59 per cent in 2003 to 36 per cent in 2013/14,according to the English Housing Survey.

The Yorkshire Post’s A Manifesto for Yorkshire has called for the next government to make building affordable homes a priority, particularly in rural areas.

In the March Budget Chancellor George Osborne launched a new ISA which will see the Government contribute £50 for every £200 saved towards a deposit.

The Conservatives have pledged to build 200,000 homes for first-time buyers under 40, should they be elected on May 7.

Labour has also promised to help build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020, and said it would prioritise first time buyers in new housing areas. It has also pledged to prioritise capital investment in housing to build more affordable homes.