First time buyers ‘locked out of market for a decade’ says charity

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A shortage of affordable homes is locking young people in the south east out of the property market for more than a decade, say experts at Shelter.

Independent research commissioned by the housing charity reveals for the first time the shocking challenge facing first time home buyers in the region, indicating that ‘generation rent’ is here to stay.

The study looked at earnings, house prices, rents, and spending on essentials in local authorities across the south east to show the true extent of the challenge faced by households wanting to save up for a deposit to buy a home in their area.

Across the region as a whole, the study found that couples who start a family in their twenties could be saving for a deposit for 13 years – nearly double the time faced by childless couples. In some cases this could mean their children would be in secondary school before they own a home.

Single people in the South East face the greatest barriers to home ownership. A single person could need over 15 years to save enough for a deposit unless they can find a partner, trapping many in uncertain private renting or forcing them to live with their parents well into adulthood.

Shelter has created an online calculator for people in the South East to find out how long it would take them or their children to save for a home of their own in their area, based on their individual circumstances. Click here if you would like the do the calculation

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: “This is the first time research like this has been conducted at a local level to reveal the harsh realities that ‘generation rent’ is having to confront because of our shortage of affordable homes.

“Despite working hard and saving what they can each month, young people in the south east face life-changing choices between starting a family or buying a home of their own.

“It seems the only ones with any hope left are the few who can resort to the bank of mum and dad. But with so many parents already feeling the squeeze, this is not a sustainable option.

“When we have young people working hard to save up for a home of their own to no avail, it is obvious that the government has to start meeting people halfway.

“Unless we see radical action to tackle our chronic shortage of affordable homes, the next generation of young people in the South East will find it even harder to find a place to call their own.”

Recent figures show that the number of new homes completed in the South East over the past year fell by 13.7 per cent, contributing to a chronic undersupply of housing which forces up rents and pushes house prices and deposits further out of reach.