UK age of house ownership has risen by eight years since 1997


In 2018, half of house buyers were 34 before they bought their first home; in 1997, that figure was 26

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the age that adults are buying houses has risen from 26 to 34, in 22 years.

House prices in Britain have seen an astronomical increase in the last 20 years, with inflation rising to over 270%. The ONS study revealed that more than 50% of adults in Britain aged 26 owned a house in 1997, compared to over 50% of 28-year-olds in 2007. With that age now at 34, the study shows that the majority of this shift has taken place in the last decade, with the financial crash in 2008 partly to blame for the skyrocketing property prices.

Why has the age of first time property buyers increased?

“Over the past 20 years the UK has seen many societal, economic and demographic changes which will have contributed to the changing milestones into adulthood, said Sarah Coates of the centre for ageing and demography at the ONS, adding, “Whilst recognising everyone’s journey into adulthood is different, these figures show a shift in the timing and occurrence of some of life’s most important moments.”

After 2008, new mortgage rules were brought in that capped an amount an individual could borrow as a multiple of their earnings. These new laws were introduced in response to several banks’ reckless lending, though it has made it harder for first-time buyers.

Renting has become more popular with all age groups in the last two decades. For those aged between 25 and 35, renting has increased by 20% since 1997. The age that young people are now leaving home and education has also increased; in 1997, the average person left education at 17 and home at 21, whilst in 2018, the same figures had risen to 19 and 23 respectively.

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