Housing crisis spreading as 'millions forced to abandon ownership dream'

  • Video report by ITV News North of England correspondent Damon Green

A housing crisis has spread across the country and is no longer confined to London, a new analysis has warned.

Regions in the north and the Midlands are becoming increasingly unaffordable, with Greater Manchester seeing the biggest drop in the proportion of people owning their home, according to the Resolution Foundation.

Its research found that home ownership in England has fallen to its lowest level since 1986 as soaring prices force millions to abandon their dreams of buying a property.

Northern Ireland saw a 10.5% drop in ownership rates from a November 2006 high of 73.5%, Scotland has seen rates fall 5.6% from its October 2004 peak of 69.1% and in Wales they have dropped 5.1% from 74.8% in May 2006.

Stephen Clarke, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: "London has a well-known and fully blown housing crisis, but the struggle to buy a home is just as big a problem in cities across the north of England."

He added: "We cannot allow other cities to edge towards the kind of housing crisis that London has been saddled with."

In Greater Manchester, homeownership sunk from 72.4% in April 2003 to 57.9% in February 2016.

Outer London has seen the second biggest drop of 13.5%, going from a peak of 71.4% in October 2000 to 57.8% in February 2016, while the West Midlands is third with a decline of 11.2% from its April 2005 high of 70.5%.

Mr Clarke said renters face higher living costs in the long run and find it harder to build up a nest-egg later on in life.

Prime Minister Theresa May has spoken of the need to tackle the housing crisis and Mr Clarke urged Mrs May to deliver on her promise.

"She may find that making good on this promise could secure as important a legacy as negotiating a successful exit from the European Union," he said.

Below are the statistics on home ownership across England and the rest of the UK comparing peak levels in the past with February 2016 and showing the decline.

Anne Baxendale, head of policy and public affairs at the housing charity Shelter, said: "Sky-high rents are leaving many families struggling to make ends meet each month, let alone save up enough for the deposit on a home. Far from being the stepping stone it once was, many young people and families are now facing a lifetime stuck in expensive and unstable private renting."

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said more than 300,000 people have been helped into home ownership through government-backed schemes since 2010, and a more than a decade-long decline in home ownership has stopped.

He added: "We know there is more to do, which is why we've set out the most ambitious vision for housing in a generation, including delivering hundreds of thousands of homes exclusively for first-time buyers."