chapter  2
18 Pages

Young adults and owner occupation: a changing goal?

ByJanet Ford

In recent times young people have played an important role in relation to owner occupation, which now encompasses 67 per cent of households in Britain. In particular, they have been one key element in its expansion to the current position as young people are an important source of new households and so, potentially, of firsttime buyers in the housing market. The 1980s boom in ‘starter homes’ was a physical and design manifestation of this relationship. In turn, the increasing predominance of home ownership and the associated reduction in opportunities to rent has led to a higher proportion of newly forming, young households moving into the tenure as their first ‘independent’ housing destination and a reduction in the time taken for all young home owners to reach that position (A. E. Green et al. 1997). For much of the 1980s the evidence indicated that some of the strongest support for home ownership was amongst young people up to the age of 35 (Kempson and Ford 1995), influenced by beliefs that it signified independence and responsibility, conferred status and had the potential to generate wealth. For young people, like others, owner occupation was recorded as a desired and obtainable goal that increasingly signified the completion of the transition to adulthood.