There has been a sharp rise in the proportion of adults owning more than one property in the UK, according to new research by the Resolution Foundation.

The study found a 30% increase in multiple property ownership between 2000-02 and 2012-14, with numbers rising 1.6 million to 5.2 million people (one in ten adults).

Generational Split

The Foundation says that there is a clear generational split in terms of who owns second homes, with those in prime age and the early stages of retirement having accumulated the most.
Multiple homeowners are apparently most likely to be baby boomers, the group born between 1946 and 1965 and currently aged 52-71. Boomers account for half (52%) of all the wealth held in additional properties, with far higher additional property asset levels than those now in their seventies and eighties had at the same age. Generation X – born 1966 to 1980 and currently aged 37-51 – accounts for a further quarter (25%) of additional property wealth.
By contrast the millennials – born since 1981 – own just 3% of the additional property assets and are the first group since records began to have less of it than predecessors at the same age had. For example, those born in the 1980s have less than half the additional property assets at age 26 than those born in the 1970s did at that age (an average of £2,600 across all adults born in the 1980s, compared to £5,500 for those born in the 1970s).

Concerns over Wealth Inequality

“Contrary to the popular narrative, these second home owners are rarely your typical middle-income worker shoring up savings or ordinary retiree boosting pension income,” commented Laura Gardiner, Senior Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation. “They tend to be baby boomers who are very wealthy indeed relative to their peers, living in the South and East of England.”
“With young people much less likely to own a home at all than their predecessors at the same age, the growing concentration of property wealth among fewer families raises concerns not just for their living standards but for wealth inequality of our country as a whole,” she added. “Recent steps to increase stamp duty on second homes and reduce tax relief on buy-to-let mortgage are attempts to address this challenge, but policy makers should consider what more can be done to ensure that home ownership doesn’t become the preserve of the wealthy for generations to come.”

Owning Property Abroad

In addition to the rise in second or third home ownership, recent analysis by Zoopla has revealed an increased interest in owning property abroad.
It found a 17% increase in searches relating to overseas properties, which it says may have been prompted in part by the miserable weather experienced this summer.
The analysis revealed that European hotspots close to Britain are the most popular, with Spain, Portugal and France topping the table for most searched for locations. However, some Brits have been looking further afield, with long-haul destinations such as the USA, Jamaica, and Canada making the top ten.
The most popular keyword search term for properties abroad is “pool”, closely followed by “beach” and “sea view”. The term “golf course” also apparently makes it into the top ten.

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