by jen on 2 August, 2016
Plummeting home ownership across Greater Manchester and other major Northern cities shows housing is no longer just a London problem.
English home ownership has fallen to levels last seen in 1986, with Greater Manchester experiencing double digit falls since their early 2000s peak, according to new Resolution Foundation analysis published today.
John Leech, the former MP for Manchester Withington, said: “For years, housing, as with many other issues, has been completely fixated on the South.
“These new figures show that it’s about time the government paid attention to Northern cities, and recognised issues, outside of the Westminster bubble.”
The analysis shows that having peaked at 71 per cent in 2003, the proportion of people owning their own home across England has fallen steadily over the last decade by seven per cent.
The Foundation says that while much of the discussion around the struggle to buy a home has centred on London, Greater Manchester has actually recorded the sharpest fall in home ownership of any major city area in the last decade or so.
Back in 2003, 72 per cent of households living in Greater Manchester were owners – slightly above the average across England as a whole. However, home ownership has since plummeted by 14 per cent – more than twice as fast as it has in England – so that by this year year just 58 per cent of households living in Manchester owned their own home.
The Foundation notes that people living in Greater Manchester are no more likely to own a home than people living in Outer London, and that home ownership rates have fallen below all other big Northern city areas apart from Tyne & Wear. It says falling deposit affordability has played a major role in this trend.
This fall in home ownership has corresponded with a near doubling in the proportion of private renters across England, up from 11 per cent in 2003 to 19 per cent in 2015. The proportion of households renting privately in Greater Manchester has more than trebled over that period – from 6 per cent to 20 per cent.
Elected earlier this year as the sole opposition on Manchester council, Cllr. John Leech added: “In places like South Manchester renters are far more likely to face greater insecurity associated with short-term contracts. The struggle to buy property makes it harder for people to gain financial security that they may need to rely on in later life.
“This shift from home ownership to private renting, and tripling in private renters, is worrying for a number of reasons, whilst also raising further concerns about landlords exploiting their tenants.
“In South Manchester we have a large proportion of students renting properties in areas such as Withington, Fallowfield and Old Moat. Landlords are buying vast numbers of properties here and renting them out in often unacceptable conditions knowing that students and young families have no other option.
“Young families and those wishing to start out on the property ladder will continue to find it difficult, as they see all the affordable areas snapped up by ‘buy-to-let’ landlords. They will also continue to spend a far higher share of their income on housing than those with mortgages.”
The share of income that households spend on housing across the UK has increased by around a third since 2003 in the North West. More than two-thirds of private and social renters said that affordability was their main barrier to home ownership.
Leech concluded: “Social housing has long been an issue in Manchester and these figures add weight to our ongoing campaign to create more genuinely affordable housing across South Manchester and the rest of the city.
Manchester Labour blames the Conservative Government. And the Conservative Government blames the Manchester Labour Council. Meanwhile there are people struggling to put a roof over their head, it’s time the blame shifting stopped and we worked across parties to create a solution.”
The study also found that fewer than one in ten private renters did not expect to purchase a house because they liked it where they were, while just 1 per cent preferred the flexibility of renting to home ownership.
Stephen Clarke, Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The chances of owning a home have fallen fastest in Greater Manchester over the last decade.
“These drops are more than a simple source of frustration for the millions of people who aspire to own their home. The shift to renting privately can reduce current living standards and future wealth, with implications for individuals and the state.”
Home ownership across UK:
|Area||Peak of home ownership||Home ownership in Feb-16||Change||Date of peak home ownership|
|Rest of North West||78.7%||71.4%||-7.3%||Oct-99|
|Rest of Northern region||72.4%||63.3%||-9.1%||Oct-05|
|Rest of Scotland||71.5%||63.7%||-7.7%||Oct-04|
|Rest of South East||75.7%||70.5%||-5.3%||Apr-00|
|Rest of West Midlands||78.1%||68.7%||-9.5%||Oct-05|
|Rest of Yorks & Humberside||74.6%||65.0%||-9.5%||Apr-04|
|Tyne & Wear||64.0%||56.5%||-7.5%||Apr-03|
|West Midlands (met county)||70.5%||59.3%||-11.2%||Apr-05|