‘Inheritance only hope for would-be home buyers’

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Leader Live)

Nearly half of parents whose children have not bought a home think their only hope of getting on the property ladder is to wait for an inheritance from them, according to research from Shelter.

Some 49 per cent of more than 1,000 parents surveyed for the housing charity said they “strongly agree” or “tend to agree” that the inheritance windfall left by them will be the only way their children will ever be able to get on the first rung of the property ladder.

Further research among people aged between 25 and 34 who have been able to buy their own home found one in six of them had relied on inheritance from a relative in order to do this and nearly one third used cash gifts for a deposit.

In contrast to the younger generation, just one in 20 people aged 55 and over said they had used an inheritance to buy their first home.

The findings came after property website Rightmove reported house sellers’ asking prices across England and Wales reached a new record high of £286,133 in April, amid a lack of choice for home-buyers. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) also said last week it was seeing “worrying” signs of an upward pressure on house prices.

Government figures recently showed that in England, people aged between 25 and 34 are now more likely to be renting privately than buying their own home.

The proportion of young people in this age group who are privately renting has more than doubled since 2003/04, with almost half (48 per cent) of all households where people are aged 25 to 34 renting privately in 2013/14, according to the data.

Over the same 10 years, owner-occupation levels in this age group have fallen from 59 per cent to 36 per cent, according to the English Housing Survey.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “No parent wants to think the only way for their children ever to own a home of their own is through losing someone they love.

“It’s a tragic consequence of our housing shortage that, even when they are working hard and saving what they can, a generation of young adults have no choice but to rely on the prospect of inheritance to have any hope of buying their first home.”

Mr Robb said successive governments have failed to build “anywhere near enough affordable homes”.

With the General Election looming, he urged politicians to “give back hope to the priced-out generation” by making a “real and lasting commitment to building the affordable homes we desperately need”.

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