Youngsters buy the idea of a happy home

The desire to own property has reached a record high level among young people.

This is the key finding of a recent Council of Mortgage Lenders survey which found that the proportion of under-25s who aspire to be home owners within the next two years has increased from 40% to 50% over the past five years.

This is despite the well publicised problems that young people are having in affording to buy.

The survey found that young people are not unusual in their aspirations. Although the increase in desire to own homes is greatest among young people, the survey found that across all age groups, the wish to own has increased. Some 84% of people now wish to own homes.

The increased desire to own among young people is interesting because it seems to be contrary to the reality of what is going on in the marketplace.

While plenty of young people want to buy, few of them are doing so. The Department for Communities and Local Government reports that the proportion of people under 25 who own homes has fallen from 24% five years ago to just 18% now.

With house prices continuing to rise way in excess of inflation, the ability to buy a home is moving further away from people who don’t already have housing equity.

Some 18 months ago there were suggestions that the housing market was about to crash and the fact that these predictions have been proved wrong has no doubt provided further stimulus in encouraging young people to buy.

The increased number of people wishing to buy property is widely attributed to higher levels of confidence in the UK economy.

Sustained economic recovery coupled with a strong employment market means that people are optimistic about their economic circumstances in the future.

At the same time, rising property prices mean people are also confident that they won’t find themselves in negative equity. And if you don’t get on the property ladder now, will you be able to afford to do so next year?

But is it only economic factors stimulating this desire among the young to buy?

It is interesting how the sorts of properties that appeal to first-time buyers are sold and advertised. It wasn’t that long ago that a property sold itself – an artist’s impression of what a property would look like would be all the advertising that was required.

Today, it is unusual to see a picture of a property at all.

Attractive, soft focus photographs of couples sipping glasses of wine clog the property supplements of newspapers and the boards outside building sites.

Property has gone from being something you live in to being a lifestyle choice that defines who you are.

The message is clear – if you don’t have the exposed floorboards, subdued lighting and a plasma screen TV, you are nobody. It’s no surprise that young people are so desperate to buy.