It seems the UK is no longer a nation of homeowners, with new figures showing more and more people are being forced to rent. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) noted a slump in homeownership for the first time since 1918, indicating traditional methods of property investment are now out of reach for many.
While 77 per cent of households in England and Wales were rented in 1918, since 1953, ownership began to increase at a faster rate than in previous decades. By 1971, there was an equal percentage of households owning and renting. In 2001, ownership reached a peak at 69 per cent but over the last decade this has fallen to 64 per cent. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of households buying their homes through a mortgage fell by 749,000. Conversely, the percentage of households renting in all English regions and in Wales increased. London continues to have the highest number of renters, at 50.4 per cent of all households.
ONS claims high house prices, low wage growth and tighter lending requirements are to blame for this reversal of the historical trend for homeownership. However, new government schemes are hoped to increase the number of people owning their own property and figures are already beginning to look more positive. Data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders has shown that the number of first-time buyers entering the market increased by three per cent in February - the best start to the year since 2008. When taken in conjunction with January's figures, the beginning of 2013 has seen the largest number of people getting their foot onto the property ladder for some time. In fact, in February there was 17 per cent more first-time buyers than in the same time in 2012.
Loan affordability has also been positive, with figures showing the market is becoming "marginally more favourable" for first-time buyers. Throughout the second month of the year, smaller amounts were borrowed in absolute terms and relative to income.
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- Wednesday 24 April 2013