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'Britain to become nation of renters within the next generation'

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'Britain to become nation of renters within the next generation'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

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Nearly half (48%) of the population believes that Britain will become a nation of renters within the next generation, a new study has revealed.

The Halifax Generation Rent Report 2014 shows that, since 2011, attitudes towards renting have changed and that, if the majority of current 20-45 year olds renting are unable or choose not to buy as they get older, the profile of the housing market will change significantly.

This would mean homeownership would reduce with time, with fewer and fewer people making their way onto and up the property ladder.

A similar Halifax report from 2011 described a generation who wanted to buy but couldn’t afford to or didn’t dare try for fear of rejection.

Three years and 32,000 survey respondents later, the opinions of 20-45 year olds are changing, with many opting to accept the reality of renting and live in properties that would otherwise be out of reach or require years of financial sacrifice to buy.

The 2014 report, which was produced for the Halifax by the National Centre for Social Research, found:

  • One in five of 23-27 year olds have no desire to own a home. 46% believe Britain is becoming more like Europe, where renting is ‘the norm’. 
  • 86% of potential homeowners refuse to sacrifice the quality of accommodation they currently live in to reduce the amount of rent they pay in order to save for a deposit. 
  • 54% of homeowners think people aren't willing to make the necessary sacrifices to get on the property ladder. 
  • 57% say first-time buyers today are guilty of trying to find their perfect property rather than adjusting their expectations to their means. 
  • 57% of would-be first time buyers would like to save but claim to not have any spare cash that they could save.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at the Halifax, said: “With attitudes softening towards the social implications of renting, and the number of people who say they will never own a property increasing, we may be heading towards the point where the aspiration to own a nice home will be replaced by the aspiration simply to live in one.

"It seems that people are now beginning to accept a lifetime of renting and this would not only change the way the property ladder looks in the future, it could even bring into question whether or not it will exist at all for some people.”

Responding to the report, Alex Hilton, director of Generation Rent, said: “Halifax has a history of excellent research in this field and this report is in line with our own ComRes poll last month.

"However, this isn’t evidence of increased satisfaction among renters, but a collapse in confidence that they will ever own their own home. Far from having a sustainable private rented sector, we’re moving to a divided nation where a small number of people with growing property portfolios are milking a large herd of tenants and preventing them owning property themselves.”

The Halifax Generation Rent Report is the largest research project of its kind in the UK. Now in its fourth year, the report and contains data from over 32,000 20-45 year olds and 3,000 parents with children aged between 20-45 years old.

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