Young British adults’ homeownership circumstances and the role of intergenerational transfers

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Despite the continuing preference for homeownership, it has become increasingly difficult for young adults to own a home in Britain. House prices have increased faster than real earnings between the mid-1990s and the 2010s, resulting in significantly deteriorated affordability. Mortgage products have also become less accessible, as a large deposit has been required to secure the loan after the financial crisis of 2008/09. Previous studies point to the increasing role of intergenerational transfers in filling this gap. Some young adults obtain help from family to become homeowners, either receiving monetary support or by saving through living at the parental home. Using the Wealth and Assets Survey, this study attempts to examine the effect of these two types of family financial support on young adults’ homeownership circumstances, and controlling for other characteristics such as parental homeownership. First, it examines the characteristics of homeowners among young adults cross-sectionally using logistic regression. Second, by focusing on the non-homeowner subsample it analyses the effect of direct (money) and indirect (co-residence) family support on young adults’ entry to homeownership in the six-year period using discrete-time event history analysis. The results show that chances of young adults’ homeownership between 2008/10 and 2014/16 are very much tied to family support. The odds of becoming homeowners who have received direct or indirect support are found to be three times higher, even after accounting for other characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-407
Number of pages25
JournalLongitudinal and Life Course Studies
Issue number3
Early online date1 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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