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Homeownership hits lowest level

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Figures have revealed the percentage of people who own their own home in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since 1988.

In the 1980’s Margaret Thatcher’s Government made it their mission to allow working class people to own their own home. Measures were introduced that allowed tenants to buy their council homes below the market value.

Figures released by the Department of Communities and Local Government found only 66% of homes are owned by the people that live in them compared to 71%, highlighting a drop in ownership. It was also revealed that one in three families and individuals rent their homes from a private landlord, a council or housing association.

Young people are feeling the effects of the financial climate with just 10% of homeowners now aged under 35. This is due to various factors including mortgage difficulties and higher unemployment rates.

With fewer homes being built the housing market has stayed strong with many first-time buyers and current homeowners competing for properties. As result of this it has kept housing prices at a high.

The survey showed owner occupancy began to drop in 2003 with the number of homeowners falling from a peak of 14,791,000 in 2006 to 14,450,000 in 2011. The number of renters has increased rapidly with 16.5% of homes being privately rented last year. The number of private renters overall has gone up by 50% since 2000.

Figures have been released as the Government want to push for more new homes to be built for younger buyers who are starting off on the property ladder and to encourage people to own their own home.

Steps have been taken to ensure that the housing market changes for the better in 2012 with many lenders now offering the option of putting down a lower deposit compared to the usual 10% that normally needs to be given.

With lower deposits now available it is hoped 2012 will bring the number of people who own their own homes back to its peak.

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By Amanda Bainbridge