Sunday, 15 January 2017

"Number of first-time buyers reaches 10-year high"

… boasted The Halifax last Friday:

First-time buyers numbers have totalled over 300,000 for the third successive year, growing from 312,900 in 2015 to an estimated 335,750 in 2016 (up 7.3%) – the highest level since the start of the financial crisis in 2007 (359,900).

That is a fairly meaningless figure until you put it in context. About 800,000 people turn 18 each year, and there is net migration of up to 200,000 working age people who are in work, so if there are only 335,000 first time buyers each year, that means that on current trends, the number of owner-occupiers will fall to about one-third in the long run.

See also the ONS publication Housing and home ownership in the UK, the number of owner-ocupiers in the 25-34 age group is down from two-thirds 25 years ago to one-third now.

Interestingly, of all age groups, it is only among the over-65s that there are more owner-occupiers today than there were 25 years ago. That's not even because more of those people have become owner-occupiers in the last 25 years - in other words, 25 years ago, three-quarters of 45-64 year olds were owner-occupiers, those people now fall into the 75+ age group and three-quarters of them are still owner-occupiers (unsurprisingly).