Millennials are just as likely as baby boomers to own a buy-to-let property or second home, even though they have been far harder hit by the overall fall in home ownership in the UK, new research shows.
One in nine of Britain’s adult population lives in a family that owns more than one property, according to latest available data contained in a report by the Resolution Foundation, the think-tank, published on Saturday. That compares to one in 13 in 2000.
Rapid growth in the number of people buying houses to rent out has driven this rise in multiple property ownership and is the “flip side” of the fall in home ownership and expansion of the private rented sector, the think-tank said.
The number of people owning buy-to-let property rose by more than 50 per cent, from 1.2m in 2008-10 to 1.9m in 2014-16, its analysis showed.
The number of second homeowners rose from 1m to 1.4m over the same period — an increase due entirely to UK property purchases.
Young people have suffered most from the fall in home ownership, and resulting insecurity, that accompanied the UK’s buy-to-let boom.
Millennials are now only half as likely to own their own home at the age of 30 as the baby boomer generation were at the same age, and a third of families with children live in the private rented sector.
But the Resolution Foundation said that while people with more than one property tended to be older, richer and from southern England, a lucky minority of young people was matching the fortunes of earlier generations.
Its research showed that 7 per cent of those born in the 1980s were living in households with some additional property wealth by the age of 29 — the same rate that people born in the 1960s had achieved by that age.
“A substantial and fast-growing proportion of this group are still becoming multiple property owners,” the report said, adding that this fitted a pattern of “rising property wealth concentration within older cohorts and within the fortunate wealthy minority in younger ones”.
The Resolution Foundation said recent tax changes were starting to change behaviour, with the proportion of homes bought by landlords falling and some evidence of a decline in the number receiving rental income.
However, the think-tank said policymakers needed to ensure that the last decade’s increase in second-home ownership did not lead to a further widening of wealth and income inequalities.
“In an era when ‘generation rent’ coexists with the highest levels of property wealth that the country has ever experienced, there is a case for thinking more broadly about how to ensure that housing is taxed fairly,” it added.