A generation 'giving up on buying' homes

7 April 2015, 14:26   By Samantha Smith

MORE people aged between 20 and 45 appear to be giving up on the prospect of buying a house of their own, a survey suggests.

home buying new keys
Credit: Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock.com

According to the Halifax Generation Rent report, almost 60% of this age group aren't putting any money towards saving for a house of their own.

The survey also shows that perennial renters are getting older, with the proportion of people aged 40-45 who own their homes dropping from 62% in 2011 to 56% in 2015.

It's not just aspirations to own a property that are being affected, with the survey finding that 52% of non-homeowners are worried they won't be able to retire if they have to rent their whole lives.

Income, house price, deposit

The three biggest barriers to getting on the property ladder are the size of the deposits required, high prices and low incomes.

The average price of a first-time buyer property has risen 14.8% in the past five years, while the average income has only risen by 4.2% from 2011 to 2014.

This may be why the proportion of people putting money aside for a deposit has dropped for the first time in three years, to 43%.

Meanwhile, possibly as a result of tougher affordability checks, two thirds of people between 20 and 45 now admit they're scared they'll be turned down for a mortgage.

Even taking into account the launch of the Government's Help To Buy and New Buy schemes, which 53% say they think has had a positive effect, almost 80% say they believe banks don't want to lend to first-time buyers.

And for the 35% who say saving enough for the deposit is the biggest hurdle they face, there's a growing recognition that it's going to take longer to get that money together.

In 2013 31% of renters said they would only expect to save for three years for a deposit; among those who have recently bought their first home the average length of time they saved for a deposit was just over three and a half years.

But now people say they expect to have to save for about five and a half years - but many are still unwilling to put aside more than £10,000, way short of the amount needed in most of the UK.

Saving what?

In the meantime, most would-be buyers are stuck renting - which, as we've covered before, is often much more expensive than buying, even taking home maintenance costs into account.

It's no surprise then, that many people are finding it difficult to put anything by for a deposit.

Over the past two years, the average amount people say they can afford to save has gone up just £1.01 a week to £33.35.

Even those willing to move somewhere smaller and cheaper in order to save for a home could well find it doesn't save them as much as they hope.

According to HomeLet, the average monthly rental value for new tenancies across the UK (including London) in February 2015 was £899. In 2013, it was closer to £750.

On top of that, renters also have to deal with what Citizens Advice have called "rip off" agency fees.

With tenancy agreements in the UK typically being just six months or a year long, even those who have no intention of moving often have to pay additional costs each year simply to sign their renewal forms.

It's no wonder that 54% of renters say they never feel fully settled or "at home".

Strain on relationships

That, however, may also be partly because of their housemates.

A Shelter survey has revealed that 16% of people aged 24-39 said they knew someone who'd moved in with a partner quicker than they wanted to, because they couldn't afford to live alone.

Meanwhile one in ten admitted they wanted to leave their partners but couldn't afford somewhere else to live.

The survey also found that almost a quarter say they're putting off starting a family because of the pressure of housing costs, with 57% waiting up to five years to have children as a result.

That tallies with the findings of the Halifax survey, in which around 40% said they didn't want to raise children in rented accommodation, despite most thinking they would be far more likely to have a family than buy a house.

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