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First-time buyers numbers falling most sharply in the UK, new international research shows

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The proportion of first-time buyers in the UK has fallen more rapidly than in any other country surveyed, according to new research produced by Dr Kathleen Scanlon and Professor Christine Whitehead| of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The report, International Trends in Housing Tenure and Mortgage Finance, compares international trends in housing tenure and mortgage finance and shows that despite falling interest rates and mortgage costs, a decade of rising house prices has seen the proportion of first-time buyers in the UK fall more sharply than in the rest of Europe, the USA and Australia.

A pattern of falling home ownership among young people emerged in five out of ten countries surveyed. Only the USA showed a significant increase in home ownership among young people, while there was a marginal increase in the Netherlands and Sweden. The fall in the number of UK first-time buyers has occurred despite the fact that, in stark contrast to the other countries surveyed, home-ownership for young households in the UK is much cheaper than renting. 

Across the whole country, 70 per cent of people now own their home, but UK owner-occupation lags many countries included in the study, but now seems to be stabilising. In some countries, growth in the number of core middle-aged, middle-income, owner-occupiers appears to have reached a plateau. Overall, people are becoming home-owners later in life. 



Dr Kathleen Scanlon is a research officer at LSE London. Professor Christine Whitehead is a professor of housing economics at LSE. 

Press cuttings

Financial Times (24 November 2004)
Survey shows quickening decline in home ownership among young couples
The Council of Mortgage Lenders, which commissioned the study from LSE, said the proportion of households that were home-owners now lagged behind many countries in eastern and southern Europe.

24 November 2004