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Thursday, September 28, 2023

A Brief History of Home Ownership

There is an old saying that an Englishman’s home is his castle and it’s true that there seems to be huge importance placed on home ownership in the UK. Elsewhere in Europe, people look on somewhat bemused at our obsession to own the property we live in. However, there has been much media coverage in recent years about dropping levels of home ownership as first-time buyers in particular struggle to raise enough for the required deposit. So, have we always been obsessed with home ownership?

Is the current fall in home ownership the end of an era?

Yes, there is evidence of an ending era but that era might not have started when you believe it did. Mass home ownership is, in fact, a relatively new trend. In 1918, fewer than 25% of UK homes were owner-occupied. Having a mortgage was an exception and the majority of people were tenants in their homes and new properties were primarily constructed for private landlords to rent out. It wasn’t until 1970 that homeowners came to outnumber those who were renting.

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Were all homeowners of the early 20th century middle and upper class?

Surprisingly not. Before the First World War, for example, just under a third of the 33,000 homes constructed in Oldham were, in fact, owned by ‘craftsmen’ and there was a similar proportion of homeownership in the mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog in Wales. They were able to pay for their homes by making use of numerous building societies in areas that were thriving with bountiful employment and a steady population. For information about current Home Buyers Survey London, contact a site like Sam Conveyancing who can help advise on Home Buyers Survey London.

What caused the upturn in home ownership?

Throughout the inter-war years, declining house prices, increasing incomes and wider availability of building society mortgages allowed more workers than ever before to purchase their own homes. By the outbreak of the Second World War one third of people were homeowners. The increase in home ownership came to a standstill during the conflict and the following period of austerity but increased again in the late 1950s and 1960s.

What was the government thinking about home ownership?

From 1930, both Labour and Conservative governments have thought of owning property as a method for creating a more equal and socially united society. Both sides have brought various policies to encourage home ownership. One of the biggest examples of this occurred in 1980 as the government of time under Thatcher gave council tenants a discounted opportunity to buy their council homes and almost 2 million households were able to take up the opportunity.

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When was the peak of home ownership?

The peak occurred in 2001 and at that time, a little under 70 percent of homes in England and Wales were private property. This has since fallen to 64 percent, and social factors and financial woes suggest it will continue to do so, with marked increases now seen in the private rental sector.

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