Only fifth of under 30s aware of affordable housing options

Only fifth of under 30s aware of affordable housing options
  SO Resi's Homeownership for the next generation report

Industry experts have called for greater financial education as research reveals less than a fifth of young people are aware of affordable housing options.

A report by affordable housing provider SO Resi found that interest in schemes such as shared ownership jumped by as much as 50 per cent once it was explained to 18-30 year olds.

The research, which looked into the status of shared ownership in England, revealed the housing aspirations of the next generation of homebuyers, and highlighted a need for greater education on housing options for young people.

Some 70 per cent of those surveyed said they would prefer to own their own home, but despite this significant interest, two-thirds said they knew nothing about the process of buying a house. 

SO Resi warned more needs to be done to educate young people around housing options as half relied on advice from their parents to get on the housing ladder. 

“For an older generation, buying a house meant paying a deposit and securing a mortgage,” SO Resi director of residential investment, Kush Rawal said. 

“The problem with this is that it fails to give confidence to young people who can’t afford a mortgage in the traditional sense. They are not aware of schemes such as shared ownership which have been designed for a new generation of priced-out buyers.

"The housing market has changed beyond recognition in the last 40 years and young people need to be able to access reliable information about all tenures of homeownership.”

Problems with renting

Of those surveyed, only 16 per cent owned their own homes with the majority renting. 

Despite being seen as a necessity by the majority, there were several frustrations with renting, with the most common being the perception that renting is ‘dead money’.

Respondents also expressed frustration over not being able to personalise the accommodation by decorating and a dissatisfaction with the speed at which landlords deal with repairs.

Concerns were also evident among the older cohort about the security of renting if a landlord changes their mind. 

In general, renting was seen as a temporary situation, with owning a home viewed as the ultimate goal.

The renters reform bill, announced earlier this summer plans to tackle some of these issues by offering greater protection to renters but it has been met with scepticism by some in the industry over concerns that it will ‘shrink’ the buy-to-let market and drive landlords out. 

Different pathways to ownership 

Meanwhile, affordability was seen as the biggest barrier to homeownership and was cited by 61 per cent of 18-24-year-olds and 53 per cent of 25-30-year-olds as the main reason for not buying.

Those surveyed were asked about their attitudes towards shared ownership, a tenure seen as more affordable because it allows the purchase of a leasehold property for a lower deposit with a rent paid on the remainder.

But SO Resi said there was a “worrying lack of awareness of the product”.