Mark Phillips, 38-year-old father of two from Leighton Buzzard, was out house hunting. It was a pleasant August Saturday afternoon, and our man cycles along on his bike. He cycles up a street of suburban semis, where he spots a few retired mature neighbours, chatting to each other over the garden fence. He leans his bicycle against a lamppost and launches softly into his property search.
“Anyone on the road contemplating moving?” Mark asks, “I am not a landlord or developer, I’m just a Leighton Buzzard bloke trying to get out of renting, buy a house, do it up and live in it with my wife and two children”
“The only way I will leave here is in a box”, answers an 80-something lady, wearing her fading Paisley patterned housecoat from the 1970’s.
“I‘ve lived here since before you were born, its lovely up here .. we aren’t moving, are we Doris?” (as her neighbour sagely shook his head at his wife).
Mark, like many Leighton Buzzard people born in the late 1970’s to the early 1990’s, is keen to get a slice of prime Leighton Buzzard real estate. Yet people like Mark in Generation Y (or the Millennials as some people call them i.e. born between 1977 and 1994 and needing family housing now) are discovering, as each year passes by, they are becoming more neglected and ignored when it comes to moving up the property ladder.
Looking at the graph for the UK as whole …
Over 75 percent of Brits aged 65 and above (the baby boomers) are owner-occupiers, the biggest share since records began and a proportional rise of over 48.3% since the early 1980’s. Looking at those Baby Boomers (the current 65+year olds) .. and roll the clock back 36 years (to when they were in their 30’s and 40’s and two thirds (65.6%) of them owned their own home.
Whilst today, just under a half of 25 to 49 year olds (47.3%) own their own home.
However, the biggest drop has been in the 18 to 24-year old’s, where homeownership has dropped from a third (32%) in the 1980’s to less than one in ten (8.9%) today. Looking at the Leighton Buzzard statistics, the numbers make even more interesting reading.
Daniel Bourke is the owner of Belvoir Lettings Dunstable and in his previous career in Architecture he was an Associate in a leading London Architectural practice