Younger Wigan families priced out of home ownership

More than two-thirds of Wigan families own their own home, figures reveal - but young people are trapped in expensive renting by the high costs of raising a deposit.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 11:19 am
Updated Friday, 21st May 2021, 11:25 am
Experts say that failure to build enough homes has led to rising prices

Office for National Statistics data estimates that 69.7 per cent of households in Wigan were owners-occupiers in 2019 – the latest available figures: broadly in line with 2012.

And more homeowners are living mortgage-free – 35.4 per cent in 2019, compared to 32.5 per cent seven years before.

PricedOut, a campaign group for affordable homes, said that while older generations are paying off their mortgages and enjoying low housing costs, young people are trapped in expensive renting by the high costs of raising a deposit.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Director Anya Martin said: “Housing costs are the major driver of inequality between the generations, and it is damaging young people’s futures. The main barrier to homeownership is that we have been failing to build enough homes in this country for decades, resulting in rising prices. We have one of the most restrictive planning systems in the world. If we want homes to get cheaper, we must build more of them.”

The Ministry of Housing said more than 243,000 homes were delivered last year – the highest number in over 30 years. And measures in the Queen’s Speech included changes to the planning system, which the Government believes will increase the supply of homes.

The proportion of households living in privately rented accommodation in Wigan has risen from 12.4 per cent in 2012 to 13 per cent.

Housing charity Shelter said that for decades the number of social homes has been plummeting, forcing people to rent privately.

Chief executive Polly Neate said: “Homeownership is totally out of reach as most private renters have no savings and no hope of scraping together a deposit. And the pandemic is making this bad situation worse as many families have seen their incomes drop and debt rise.

“Struggling families need a way out of private renting, and the only way to give them one is to start building more social homes. A new generation of good-quality social housing would give many more people the chance of a secure home they can actually afford to live in.”

She added that the Queen’s Speech offered fresh hope to private and social renters.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing said: “We are delivering the homes our communities need and helping many more people get the keys to their own home through our Government-backed schemes including Shared Ownership, Help to Buy and our new 95 per cent mortgage guarantee scheme.”

Thank you for reading. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription. Thanks again.