Home ownership falling in major English cities, says think tank

The Resolution Foundation said homes were becoming increasingly unaffordable for struggling potential buyers, reports The BBC.

The proportion of home owners dropped from 72 per cent in April 2003 to 58 per cent this year in Greater Manchester, it said.

West Yorkshire, the metropolitan area of the West Midlands and outer London have also recorded double-digit falls.

home ownersExplaining the falling rates of home ownership, Matthew Whittaker, chief economist from the Resolution Foundation, told the BBC’s Today programme: “What we particularly have seen since 2002-03 is that incomes simply haven’t kept pace with house prices, so it’s not just that house prices have gone up.

“We had access to lots of relatively easy credit and the position we’re in now is that credit has been turned off.

“We have this sense now that house prices have become detached from people’s earnings … and we no longer have the route through 100 per cent mortgages and the like for getting on to the housing ladder.”

The average first time buyer paid just under £30,000 for their new home in the 1980s compared with more than £150,000 now, the think tank said.

The Resolution Foundation used data from the Office for National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey (LFS).

The report follows recent data from the government’s English Housing Survey showing the total number of buyers has fallen by a third in 10 years, and those who do buy their first home increasingly rely on the bank of mum and dad for help.

The Resolution Foundation’s analysis of the LFS found that home ownership in England peaked in 2003 at 71 per cent of the population and had now dropped to just under 64 per cent.

The reduction in the proportion of people owning their own home was also recorded in other parts of the UK. The figures suggest home ownership:

  • Fell from its 2006 peak in Northern Ireland of 73 per cent to 63 per cent now
  • Dropped from 69 per cent in Scotland at its 2004 peak to 63 per cent now
  • Decreased from 75 per cent in Wales at its 2006 peak to 70 per cent now

The Resolution Foundation said its analysis showed that the struggle to own a home was no longer just a “London-centric issue”.

“London has a well-known and fully blown housing crisis, but the struggle to buy a home is just as big a problem in cities across the North of England,” said Stephen Clarke, the foundation’s policy analyst.

“The chances of owning a home have fallen fastest in Greater Manchester over the last decade, though the Leeds and Sheffield city areas have also experienced sharp drops.”