Housing

Only 1 in 3 babies born today will own a home when they're 50, says Labour

Home-ownership is falling under the Conservatives, Labour has said, and promised to set a target of 70 per cent if elected.

Lisa Nandy stands a t a lectern with Labour on the front and a union jack behind her

Shadow Housing Secretary Lisa Nandy speaks to the Labour conference in Liverpool on the second day of the 2022 Labour Party conference Image: Nicola Tree/Getty Images

Labour has promised to be “the party of home-ownership” and accused the Conservatives of abandoning first-time buyers, claiming a child born in 2023 has less than a one-in-three chance of owning a home by the time they’re 50.

New analysis of the English Housing Survey from the opposition party found home-ownership has plummeted for people at the start of middle age, traditionally those thought to be in their peak earning years with the best opportunity to own their own home.

While 74 per cent of people aged 45 to 54 were homeowners in 2009/10, by 2021/22 that had fallen to 65 per cent.

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Labour warned that, if home-ownership continues to drop at the same rate, around 30 per cent of people in that age bracket will own their own home in 2071/72, when today’s babies reach the age of 50.

Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow levelling up and housing secretary, said the party would set a target of 70 per cent home-ownership if in power.

“The Conservatives have abandoned first-time buyers. On their watch home-ownership rates have plummeted and mortgage costs have soared, and now Rishi Sunak has prioritised appeasing his own MPs over building the houses we need.  

“Labour is proudly the party of home-ownership. A Labour government will set a target for 70 per cent home-ownership giving young people and families the pride and security that comes with owning their own home.

“We will reform planning to get more homes built and actively support first-time buyers with a comprehensive mortgage guarantee scheme and by giving them first dibs on new houses in their area. Along with our mission to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7 and to tackle the cost of living crisis, we will build a better Britain.” 

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: “Supporting aspiring homeowners is a government priority.”

Mortgage rates have risen in recent months driven partly by the fallout of former prime minister Liz Truss and ex-chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-Budget in the autumn.

That has made it harder to get on to the property ladder and this week Rightmove reported that first-time-buyer type properties hit a new record price of £224,963.

Rightmove’s director of property science Tim Bannister said that while there are signs that competition among lenders is making mortgages more viable for first-time buyers, it “remains a challenging environment to get onto the ladder”.

Nandy said a Labour government will support first-time buyers with a mortgage guarantee scheme that will help prospective homeowners who struggle to save for a deposit.

The opposition party is also promising to give first-time buyers first dibs on new houses in their area.  

Meanwhile, the government said 400,000 first-time buyers have been helped into home ownership since 2010 through government-backed schemes including Help to Buy and Right to Buy.

“We are committed to delivering 300,000 new homes per year and are investing £11.5 billion to build the affordable, quality homes this country needs,” continued the government spokesperson.

“We have extended the mortgage guarantee scheme to the end of this year and the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will speed up the planning system, cutting unnecessary delays so we can build more homes.”

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