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Desire to own a home among UK tenants declines from age of 35

Suban Abdulla
·3-min read
'For Sale' sign outside of a terraced house in the UK.
70% of those in the 45-54 age group said they want to own a house, with half of 55-64 year old tenants stating they want to buy a property. Only 34% of tenants in the 65 or age group want to buy in the future. Photo: Getty

The desire to own a home among tenants in the UK’s private rented sector has fallen from the age of 35, along with the propensity to save towards a deposit as tenants get older.

According to research by Paragon Bank, which surveyed 2,000 respondents, 72% of those in rented accommodation would like to own a property in the future.

70% of those in the 45-54 age group said they want to own a house, with half of 55-64 year old tenants stating they want to buy a property.

Only 34% of tenants in the 65 or age group want to buy in the future. The average age of a first-time buyer was 32 in 2019, according to UK Finance.

Meanwhile, the ability to save for a home also wanes as tenants get older.

Nearly three quarters (72%) of tenants aged between 18-24 that want to own a home save regularly towards a deposit, with 71% of those aged between 25-34 saving regularly.

In the older age brackets this falls to 58% for 35-44 year olds, 45% for those between 45-54 and 41% for 55-64 year olds. But, there is a slight uptick to 43% of those aged 65 or over who want to buy a property and save monthly to do so.

Richard Rowntree, Paragon Bank’s managing director of mortgages, said: “Our research shows a strong desire to buy amongst younger tenants who will typically use rented property as a starter home before stepping on the property ladder. This cohort also is more able to save for a deposit, making their aim of buying a home more attainable.

“As tenants reach their middle-aged years, the desire to own a home becomes less pronounced, but so does the ability to save for a property. These tenants will typically stay in the private rented sector for a longer period, maybe for the rest of their lives.”

It comes as figures showed the number of prospective buyers in the UK reached its highest level ever for the month of October.

The average number of buyers registered per estate agent branch reached 451 during the month, a fall from 525 in September, according to National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) Propertymark’s October housing report.

Watch: What is shared ownership?

READ MORE: Housing demand hits highest level on record for October

Paragon’s UK Tenant Report 2020 also shows satisfaction with rented homes increases with age. 68% of over 55s said that renting suited their needs or they enjoyed renting, compared with 49% in the under 55 bracket.

The majority of tenants (59%) like the accommodation they live in, although four in 10 think improvements are required. Over six in 10 (62%) tenants state that the property feels like home, even if they don’t own it.

However, contrary to the perception of reluctant renters, 54% of tenants state that renting either suits their current situation or that they enjoy renting.

Reasons for that include not having to worry about repairs (48%), the flexibility to move easily (35%), great location (32%), being able to live in an area they couldn’t afford to buy (31%) and the property being perfect for them (22%).

Private sector tenants also enjoy a strong relationship with landlords, with over half of tenants letting direct from their landlord and 39% letting via a letting agent.

Overall, 68% stating that they have a positive working relationship with their landlord, 80% stating that their landlord is easy to contact, 65% report the landlord makes repairs promptly and 58% say that repairs are made to a good standard.

Watch: Why are house prices rising during a recession?