First-time buyers: an early life crisis: Britain's homeownership aspirations

Document type
Marshall, Lydia; Smith, Neil
NatCen Social Research
Date of publication
28 March 2016
Housing and Homelessness, Social Policy, Families
Social welfare
Material type

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This report explores the attitudes and plans of potential first-time home buyers aged 18 to 40 years old.

Commissioned by the Yorkshire Building Society the report also considers what young adults are doing to save for and afford their first home.


  • The vast majority of young adults aged 18 to 40 want to own their own home – almost all home owners and three in five non-owners.
  • Overall, young adults rank home ownership as more important than getting married or having children and achieving their career or educational goals.
  • Younger adults (aged 18 to 25) place less importance on home ownership, and are more concerned about their education and career. However, younger renters are more optimistic about home ownership, whilst 25 to 40 year olds are notably more likely to have given up on the idea of owning a home.
  • There are a number of barriers facing potential first-time buyers, including other demands on incomes such as rents, bills and debts, low wages and job insecurity.

The research entailed an online survey of a nationally representative (UK) sample of 18 to 40-year-olds. This included roughly 1000 home owners and 1000 non-owners.

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