Wealth & Finance International - January 2017

Wealth & Finance International 68 Is Home Ownership Still the Great British Dream? eanwhile, the Local Government Association has found home ownership amongst 25-year-olds has more than halved during the last 20 years, with only 20% of 25-year- olds in England and Wales now owning a home, compared to 46% in 1996. With projections so dire for the majority of UK citizens, is home owner- ship still considered a staple of the Great British dream? According to a survey of 2,000 Brits*, it is. The Story of Success The first direct Story of Success sought to discover what goals and achievements UK adults consider to be signifiers of success. The results showed that there’s more to success than having money sat in a bank account. Amongst the youngest participants, education (62%) and a career (60%) were shown to be a few of the most important factors that made them feel successful. Expand the age group a little wider, however, and home ownership quickly became a priority. The 18-34-year-old group deemed home ownership as an important sign of success, voting it at 71% – higher than any other age group included in the survey. The ‘perfect family home’ was a particular desire for the younger participants in that group, with 51% highlighting it as the ultimate achievement. Turning a house into a home The characteristics of housing success don’t come from large or expen- sive properties. Rather, the respondents revealed that paying for their house independently was far more important – 41% agreed that this factor is what would make them feel successful. Renting and living in a large or expensive house, or one that’s in a desirable area or nearby to work, was considered to be less of a success than simply owning a home – even if it’s not the ‘perfect’ home. The research highlights the fact that other traditional values such as having a stable career and raising a family are also priorities for the UK’s young people. As to whether they can achieve these goals in a home that they own themselves is another issue. Turning the dream into a reality In early 2016 - the price of the average UK home crossed the £200,000 mark - higher than ever before. Location also heavily dictates the cost of a home, with houses in the north costing half that those in the south do, on average. House prices have continued to rise at a dramatic rate over the past few years, but while the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors predicts that the year-on-year growth will slow in 2017, there will still be brutal competition on the market, partially due to the lack of supply for the huge demand. This could potentially lead to a delayed hike in prices, sometimes predicted as high as 3%. The latest home ownership report supports these predictions, with the Local Government Association’s housing spokesman, Cllr Martin Tett saying, “a shortage of houses is a top concern for people as homes are too often unavailable, unaffordable and not appropriate for the different needs in our communities.” The average salary also comes into play regarding housing affordabil- ity, with the typical full-time working adult earning £27,000. A healthy deposit for the average home could very well reach £33,000; 14 months of pre-tax earnings. Millennials are not naïve; financial stability was considered essential to 86% of respondents, most of whom hoped to reach a form of financial security between the ages of 25 to 34. The importance of money, saving and financial responsibility further highlights the importance of these traditional values. Location, location, location It has become apparent in recent years that millennials who are earning the average wage are effectively priced out of the South of England. Career opportunities may be more promising around the Capital, and the cultural offerings more tantalising, but to achieve their declared long-term goals, the country’s youth may need to consider a northward move. A recent report conducted in late 2016 has shown that a recorded 77,000 people moved from London to elsewhere in the UK, with only four boroughs seeing an influx (rather than an output) of citizens. Home ownership has fallen in most areas of the UK, according to the parliamentary Home Ownership Statistics report. While Scotland appears slightly immune to the trend, with a 0.8% rise in ownership since 2011, and ownership amongst those aged 70+ has also risen by a similar margin, other areas in the UK aren’t seeing the same growth. M

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