An appetite for home ownership

A desire to our own our own home is an enduring national characteristic on which Zoe Noyes, senior associate of Carter Jonas who leads the national property consultancy’s new homes sales in Peterborough and Cambridge, comments.

Zoe Noyes of Carter Jonas

As ever, there are contrary and conflicting views on the fortunes of the housing market. Some commentators are looking to set aside the exceptional performance of the London housing market – and its associated hot-spots such as central Cambridge – in consideration of a wider regional or national picture.

Other commentators are joining the debate with a differing agenda which focuses on the idea of ‘Generation Rent’.  Such views are sounding the death knell for home ownership in the UK in pointing to an increase in institutional investors buying up housing stock for rental.

There are acknowledged difficulties of accessing mortgage finance, particularly for first-time buyers, but there are signs of this easing in the first part of this year. 

However, in spite of the unpredictability of the housing market in the past few years, what does seem certain is the appeal of home ownership as the preferred housing tenure in the UK.

A YouGov survey published recently underlined that owning our own home is an enduring aim of people in this country.  Of people who are currently in private lettings, 64 per cent are looking to own their own home within by the next decade with.  Overall the people surveyed – currently living in a range of housing tenures – 79 per cent aspired to own their own homes.

Over 20 years ago, at a time of negative equity in the early 1990s which followed that September day in 1992 – known as ‘Black Wednesday’ when base interest rates shot up several times in as many hours from 10 to 12 to 15 per cent – there were many headlines which predicted that, as a nation, we were going to reject home ownership in the future for both economic and cultural reasons.

Our appetite for renting all of our lives is doubtful. Admittedly, some people do actively seek this while others have no choice.  There is a cultural issue about home ownership which could stem from our status as an island nation and a desire to own a house-sized parcel of it if we can. 

It’s a desire which seems embedded in our national psyche that it, along with the more obvious security of tenure and long-term financial reasons, makes owning our home appeal to us.

Predictions of the rejection of home ownership – on whatever basis – have just not come true in the past two decades and, with the YouGov survey, don’t look likely to be fulfilled in the coming decade and, probably, beyond.

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