The cost of buying a house is becoming too much for the people of Britain, who are increasingly remaining renters until late in life. This is becoming especially true in London, where rising house prices have been steadily increasing for years.
The UK has traditionally been seen as a country that loves owning property, especially compared with the rest of Europe. However, this is simply no longer true. The amount of property that is occupied by its owner in the UK is 62 per cent, meaning 48 per cent of our houses are now rented.
This is a surprisingly low figure, especially when compared to other countries. In France, for example, 63 per cent of property is owner-occupied, and in Italy that figure is 72.5 per cent. Both of these countries are still below the average for the EU, where 73.5 per cent of properties overall are owner-occupied.
The UK does not have as much of a renting culture as some places, of course. In Germany only 56.2 per cent of property is owner-occupied, and across the Atlantic in New York more than two-thirds of all properties are rented with only 31.9 per cent owner-occupied.
Furthermore, in the UK people are beginning to rent for longer. It used to be the case that renting was mainly for younger people saving up the money to get on the housing market. However, now 23 per cent of all renters in the UK are over the age of 50.
In London, the number of renters in the 35 or over age bracket has doubled in just ten years, as less and less people feel able to buy property in the capital due to rising house prices. As a result, landlords in the city are starting to cater more towards an older market with a higher income, and renting in desirable areas is becoming more costly.
Derek Gorman, chief executive of Get Living London, said: “About five to six years ago the bulk of renters were aged between 22 and 32. Now we’re seeing that age band expanding to 22- to 40-year-olds, making the number of renters in the market swell considerably.”