1.2.6 The impact of the growth of home ownership
The following video looks at the historical trends in home ownership and house building in the UK and at the related changes to house prices and household debt.
During the period of growth in real incomes and living standards in recent decades, certain specific developments have triggered greater demand for financial products. One material development has been the rise in home ownership, with the percentage of households owning their own home in England rising from 51 per cent in 1979 to 70 per cent in 2006 (The Times Online, 2007). This period witnessed a continuation of the upward trend in home ownership in the UK seen since the start of the twentieth century, although in the last few years the percentage of homeowners has fallen slightly to 65 per cent.
A step-change to the proportion of homeowners in the UK occurred in the 1980s following the introduction of legislation by the Conservative government allowing council tenants to buy the properties they were renting. This was encouraged by offering the tenants often significant discounts off the market value, subject to how long the tenants had lived in the council property. Between 1980 and 1990, over 1 million properties transferred from public to private ownership under the right-to-buy (RTB) legislation.
The impact on the financial services industry of this growth in home ownership has been huge. With home ownership comes demand for mortgage products to facilitate the property purchase, investment policies to finance the repayment of certain types of mortgage products, possible bank loans to renovate the property and buy consumer goods, and the need for property insurance cover. It is therefore no surprise that the expansion of the financial services industry in recent decades can be related to the growth in home ownership.