Home ownership has dropped to its lowest level for more than 30 years, with high property prices leaving many people with little alternative but to rent from private landlords.
Although the annual pace of house growth fell in March, according to mortgage lender Nationwide, prices still remain up 3.5% year-on-year, leaving many frustrated would-be home buyers left out in the cold.
“The South of England continued to see slightly stronger price growth than the North of England, but there was a further narrowing in the differential,” said Robert Gardner at Nationwide.
“Northern Ireland saw a slight pickup in annual house price growth, while conditions remained relatively subdued in Scotland and Wales,” he added.
Nationwide noted that there has been a particular slump in home ownership levels among young people, which largely explains why so many people renting privately are currently under the age of 34.
The has also been a significant decline in the proportion of young adults owning their own home over the past decade, with home ownership rates among those aged 35-44 falling from 74% in 2006 to just 56%. This is contributing to upward pressure on rental demand, with the number of people renting from private landlords continuing to outstrip those in council and housing association homes.
In fact, 20% of households in England are now privately rented, a record high, up from 12% ten years ago, according to Nationwide,
The number of privately rented households has increased by more than 75% over the past decade and now stands at around 4.5 million.