Massive change to UK housing market predicted

According to the report – the most in-depth research into the attitudes and behaviour of young people toward home-ownership since the credit crunch – 77% of all non-homeowners still aspire to own a home.

However, despite this aspiration, nearly half of 20-45 year olds say Britain is becoming more like Europe where renting is seen as the norm and predict Britain will become a nation of renters within the next generation.

Commissioned by Halifax and produced by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), the report analysed the results of a survey of 8000 20 to 45 year-olds, and identified the emergence of "Generation Rent": two thirds (64%) of non-homeowners who believe they have no prospect whatsoever of buying a home.

The perception that banks are not lending, the size of mortgage deposits necessary, and a fear of the application process has prevented "Generation Rent" from making any significant attempts to buy a home. Longer-term, only 5% of this group are making sacrifices to save for a deposit. Some 95% say they have no spare cash, no interest in saving for a deposit or were trying to save but failed to do so.

Stephen Noakes, Commercial Director, Halifax Mortgages, said: "Our research indicates just how many potential first-time buyers are not making it to the application stage because of a fear of being declined."

The report revealed widespread pessimism about lenders and the mortgage application process:

* 84% say first-time buyers are put off by a belief that banks do not want to lend to them and find excuses to turn them down;
* 92% see it as hard for first-time buyers to get a mortgage, with 60% seeing it as very hard or virtually impossible;
* 67% believe there is a general perception that everyone is rejected by lenders so there is little point in applying;
* 61% say that first-time buyers do not want to go through the stress and anxiety of applying for a mortgage.

Alison Blackwell, NatCen report author, said: "The phenomenon of Generation Rent could have major socio-economic implications. It would mean fewer homeowners being able to buy and therefore fund the construction of the new homes required in the UK to meet demand, resulting in a slowing down in the housing market.  It could open up a widening of the wealth gap that already exists between home-owners and non home-owners.  And people in Generation Rent risk insufficient finances at retirement."

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