The recession has led to thousands of Britons giving up on the dream of owning their own homes, says a survey by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
In some British cities, as many as 30 per cent of adults no longer wish to own property, citing high prices and fears over redundancy as reasons.
The cities with the largest percentage of adults no longer looking to own property are Cardiff (30 per cent), Manchester (27.7 per cent) and Belfast (25 per cent). At the other end of the spectrum, 12.5 per cent of adults in Liverpool, 11.1 per cent in London and 10.3 per cent in Southampton are more optimistic about getting on the property ladder.
The lack of enthusiasm for all things property related is perhaps understandable in light of news showing that mortgage lending conditions are still tight. Bank of England figures released last week show a fall in the number of new mortgages in August, the first drop in 10 months. The bank's quarterly credit conditions survey showed that approvals slipped from 52,404 in July to 52,317 in August. This is about half the level of mortgage loans seen at the height of the property market boom.
The NAEA says that the recession alone cannot be blamed for the pessimism about owning property and that the Government and lenders should shoulder some of the responsibility for the market torpor.
"The Government has so far refused to create a level playing field for house-hunters by reforming stamp duty, a tax on aspiration," says Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the NAEA.