Over-50s hold 75% of Britain’s housing wealth

Homeowners over the age of 50 hold 75% of Britain’s housing wealth, according to new research, revealing the huge generational divide in the property market.

Older owner occupiers hold a total of £2.8 trillion in equity, equivalent to more than £75 in every £100. By comparison, the under 35s account for less than £6 in every £100 of equity held by owner-occupiers.

The research, by global property adviser Savills, found that older households are most dominant in the South West, where the over-65s own almost half (48%) of all homeowner equity and are worth a collective £176bn. Combine this group with the over-50s, and together they own 80pc of the region’s owner-occupier equity, a total of £293bn.

At the other end of the scale, the under 35s account for just 4pc with £15bn of housing wealth across the region.

The generational divide is less significant in the capital, where the over-50s account for 65% of housing wealth held by owner-occupiers, compared to 11% for the under 35s. This is partly because London is a hub for young professionals, with the city boasting an average age of 36 compared with 40 across the rest of the UK.

Lawrence Bowles, Savills research analyst, said: “Our analysis shows that there’s truth in the old stereotype of affluent households selling up in London for a ‘move to the country’.

“The figures for the South West of England are evidence of the trend for older homeowners making a lifestyle move, making the region arguably the country’s largest naturally occurring retirement community.”

Unsurprisingly, the over 65s also have less mortgage debt – around £112bn collectively, compared to £117bn for the under 35s.

Home ownership in the UK is becoming a distant dream for many, with those aged 25-34 significantly less likely to own a home today than they were 20 years ago. A Government survey found that 4.7m households (20.3%) now rent privately, up from two million (10%) in 2000.

Meanwhile, the proportion of households in Britain that own their home has dropped from 70.6% to 62.6%.

Despite this trend away from homeownership, the number of people who want to buy a property remains unchanged, with the proportion of renters expecting to buy at some point hovering around 60%.

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