News Over half of renters say they cannot afford to buy a home - but where does that leave London professionals?

Published by AgentPro on 8th November, 2017

New research finds more than half of renters and non-home owners in the UK believe they will never be able to afford their own home.

The ING International Survey Homes and Mortgages 2017− Renting Versus Owning report surveyed almost 15,000 people in 15 countries, including the UK.

71 per cent of UK respondents currently renting said buying a home was a good financial decision, and 64% of them told researchers they would buy a property if their finances would allow it.

However,  56 per cent of UK renters said they could not afford to buy and were unlikely to be able to do so in the future.

More than half of non-owners surveyed aged 35 agree they will never afford a home – rising to 68 per cent among the over-65s. Men (43%) of all ages are less likely than women (52%) to say they will never buy; one possible explanation is that women earn considerably less than men over a lifetime.

Ian Bright, senior economist and managing director of Group Research at ING, commented:
“Most people want to buy a house. Their reasons for doing this extend well beyond money, such as security and the freedom to decorate it how they like. Yet many now accept that they are unlikely to buy.

“If you combine this with our findings that a higher proportion of home owners are happy with their housing situation, compared with renters, then it seems that more people will feel incredibly frustrated with their housing choices in the future. It is hardly surprising that many people in many countries think housing is on the wrong track.”

Unsurprisingly, property market professionals are unhappy with the survey findings.

James Morton, Director of London Estate Agents Benham & Reeves told Estate Agent News:

“This statistic makes for depressing reading – renters are no longer low income, low budget workers on the minimum wage, people in between homes, or young people early on in their career.  Increasingly, professionals who work hard and have successful careers are finding their home buying ambitions hard to achieve, even more so in London.  Even when home-buyers save the deposit for a home in London, no mean feat in itself, they then get hit with a huge bill for Stamp Duty, which they cannot fund through their mortgage.

“My generation grew up thinking if you worked hard and did well in your career, you’d be buying your own home, settling down and raising a family.  Now, most professionals in London have to either rent or move away, particularly those working in vital roles that the capital desperately needs, such as nurses, care workers, police officers and the ambulance service.  It seems their dreams of owning that first home are fast becoming pipe dreams.

“I’m going to repeat my earlier calls for the Chancellor to help home buyers in his budget this month.   Stamp duty is not just hitting the property market any more – it’s strangling the ambitions of our young people.  It’s time to start helping home buyers instead of taxing them out of the market.”