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Two million more households set to move into rented

Britain should abandon its obsession with home ownership and face the prospect of a further drop of nearly two million households in home ownership over the next decade.

Instead, politicians should focus on the fast-growing private rented sector, with calls for housing associations to enter the industry.

A new report, The End of the Affair: implications of declining home ownership, is published by think-tank the Smith Institute.
Written by Andrew Heywood, it says that the Thatcherite vision of home ownership is no longer relevant.

Home ownership peaked in 2003 at just over 70%, and has been declining since.

The report says that if the current rate of decline continues, just 15.5m households will be in owner occupation in ten years’ time – a fall of almost 2m.

It warns that allowing house prices to fall to combat the downward trend would lead to a dramatic increase in negative equity.

The report says that increased debt from student fees is one factor stopping first-time buyers from getting on the housing ladder.

Genesis Housing Association said of the report that Britain should stop thinking of home ownership as the holy grail.

Chief executive Neil Hadden said: “This report has found that a significant number of people face the prospect of no longer being able to buy a home. The Government and all political parties need to change their language and stop promoting home ownership.”

He said that housing associations would need to cater for private tenants in future “to help the growing numbers that are being pushed into the unregulated private rental sector”.