Home ownership on long decline in Britain

Nov. 16, 2012 at 1:40 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Home ownership in Britain is down to a 24-year low, creating a long-term renter class with wide-ranging implications, an advocacy group in London said.

"Buying your first home is no longer a joyful rite of passage for young adults but returning to being a privilege of elites," said Paula Higgins, chief executive officer of HomeOwners Alliance.

A report titled "Death of a Dream" was released by the group Friday. It said home ownership is down to 64.7 percent, a drop from the 69.7 percent peak of 2002.

The downward trend pre-dates the recession, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Construction of new homes is down to its lowest level since the 1920s, the report says. About 100,000 homes are built each year.

Generations have been growing up without the security of their parents owning their homes, the report said. In addition, it said, the need for public housing for the elderly is expected to double by 2060 as more people retire without the financial security of owning a home.

"This government inherited a paralyzed housing market from labor where the lenders wouldn't lend, the builders couldn't build and millions of hard-working, aspiring home buyers were blocked from taking their next step on the property ladder," said a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government, a coalition of agencies that is attempting to make home ownership more available.

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