The million missing home owners in the "aspiratation nation"
A new organisation has been established called the HomeOwnership Alliance. It offers practical, independent advice to its members to help them get a good deal when buying a property. It also servve as a lobby to advance the cause of home ownership.
Their first report, The Death of a Dream, has the following findings:
- Owner occupation in the UK has fallen to the lowest level since 1988 – the lowest for 24 years.
- Homeownership peaked in 2002, before the financial crisis, which has accelerated the rate of decline. The decline is not a short term blip caused by recession, but a long term trend exacerbated by the recession.
- The homeownership rate across the UK has fallen from a peak of 69.7% in 2002 to 64.7% - a drop of 5 percentage points.
- There are 1.4 million fewer homeowners than there would be if homeownership levels had not gone into decline - the million missing homeowners.
- There is now a “homeownership gap” of approximately 20% between those who want to own their own home and those that actually do. That means there are about 5m households who want to own their home, but don’t.
- If current trends continue, by 2016 there will be 2.4m fewer homeowners than if homeownership rates hadn’t fallen.
- Britain is no longer a nation of homeowners, with homeownership rates well below the EU average, and ranking just 17th out of 27 EU countries, below Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy and Romania.
The aspiration is a strong as ever. The last British Social Attitudes survey found that 86% want to own their own home. This is not just a middle class preoccupation. The figures also show that 58% of local authority tenants and 61% of Housing Association want to own.
The challenge, but also the political opportunity, presented by these figures is obvious. The revival of the Right to Buy is an important start but the Government must consider how they can go further.