While 95% of Brits expect to own a home in their lifetime, the reality is that at least three million will retire in rented accommodation.
The survey by propertyfinder. com asked 1,145 people to predict their housing tenure at different points in their life.
Among the under-35s surveyed, 57% expect to be on the property ladder by the time they reach that age whereas in reality only 49% of 24 to 35 year olds have succeeded in this.
By the age of 64, 95% of respondents think they will own homes. In reality, only 80% of people of that age own property.
Expectations seem to be based on an outdated view of the market. People’s predictions are more in line with levels of home ownership seen six years ago, when the 2001 census showed that 59% of 24 to 35 year olds were home owners.
Warren Bright, chief executive of propertyfinder.com says: “Neither profound changes in the way we live and work nor high house prices have diminished our appetite for bricks and mortar.
“But many people’s eyes are bigger than their wallets and they are likely to be disappointed. People are more unrealistic about the long-term likelihood of owning a home than they are about their immediate prospects.”
Bright predicts that the proportion of home owners will further diminish over the next 30 years.
He adds: “This heralds a big change in housing tenure and is good news for the burgeoning army of property investors who will see tenant demand extend beyond traditional younger groups to become an option for the whole population.”
Jonathan Cornell, technical director at Hamptons Mortgages, says: “One of the things about the British identity is that we see ourselves as a nation of home owners. As they say, an Englishman’s home is his castle.
“But as long as prices outstrip earnings, people will be disappointed. Unless the government increases the stock of new-build properties the situation is unlikely to change.”