Leading article: Still far from being a nation of renters

Related Topics

Like it or not – and a great many people do not like it – the British could be on the way to becoming a nation of renters. The tide of home-ownership is turning, according to a spate of surveys, as high prices and a continuing mortgage famine combine to force would-be buyers to postpone their ambitions and remain in the rented sector, much like their contemporaries across the Channel.

This does not mean, however, that the British are reconciled to the new reality. The head (and the banks) may dictate against buying, but the heart still hankers after owning. The Englishman's castle has not lost its lure. More than three quarters of under-45s in one of the surveys we report today want to own their own home, even as two thirds believe their prospects of so doing are nil.

This throws up two elements that the Government and the lenders need to address. The first is the risk of a disaffected generation, deprived of the opportunities for domestic and financial stability that their parents and grandparents enjoyed. Another report – from a centrist think-tank – recommends that banks should revert to the lending policies of a generation ago: an end to 100 per cent mortgages and loans advanced strictly in proportion to verified income. With prices so much higher than they were then, and many incomes static or worse, such terms would exclude more people from home-ownership. But if bubbles are to be avoided, this could be the responsible way to go.

If that is so, then the last two decades have to be treated as an anomaly. And if they are, a new emphasis needs to be placed on renting. Despite the popularity of "buy to let" arrangements – among buyers – renting still offers a relatively precarious existence for tenants and the quality of much accommodation, especially for families, leaves much to be desired. Renting succeeds on the Continent because tenants enjoy decent security of tenure, the quality gap between owned and rented accommodation is narrower to non-existent, and there is a far wider choice of housing on offer. All of which shows, if Britain is to have a larger class of renters, just how much remains to be done.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Supply Teachers needed in Bolton!

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

English Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIREDWe are ...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Science Teacher

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger  

Will Cuddlr do for hugging what Tinder and Grindr did for sex?

Jessica Brown Jessica Brown
Retail store Joy has sparked a social media backlash with its response to a customer who said one of its cards is offensive to people with bipolar  

Hey Joy, mocking people with bipolar isn't funny — it's offensive

Ellabell Risbridger
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments