Increasing Difficulties In Purchasing Property Alone

Single people who live alone are at risk of being priced out of owning their own home.

According to ‘The Cost of Living Alone,’ published by the Office for National Statistics, the ability to own a property when a person lives alone is decreasing.

Between 1996 and 2017 the number of people living on their own had increased by 16% to 7.7 million people. Despite the rise in single occupied households, it is less likely that the occupiers will own the property they live in.

In fact, fewer than half (48.75%) of all single occupant homes are owned. In contrast, 72% of homes occupied by couples without children are owned by the people living in them.

40% of single people, aged between 25- 34-years-old, will own their own home; this rises to 55% of people in a couple without children.

The disparity only increases amongst older age demographics. 48% of 35 to 44-year-old single dwellers will own their property, whilst 67% of couples are able to gain a foothold on the property ladder; a 19% difference. This difference rises to 30% in those aged over 55-years-old.

35% of the younger generation that live alone are unable to save money for a deposit, with the majority claiming they very rarely have any spare money at the end of the month. This figure decreases in couples to only 14% struggling at the end of the month or week.

Single adults spend 26% of their monthly income on their rent, 28% on their mortgage (if they are able to acquire one), and 11% on their bills and housing costs. When two adults are sharing this responsibility, the figures decrease to 17%, 19% and 8% respectively.

These figures may indicate the reasons that fewer younger people choose to live alone. Whilst the number of single dwellers increased by 16% overall, the number of single occupants aged under 44-years-old has fallen by 16%. Conversely, those aged over 45-years, living on their own has increased by 53% since 1996.

With 92% of a single household incomes drained each month compared with only 83% of an average couple’s monthly income, many younger singletons are looking for alternative ways to save money to help them purchase property.

M&S Bank’s recent research highlighted the plight of young millennials to gain a foothold on the property ladder as they were increasingly forced to buy property with friends if they were not in a couple. The research highlighted that 60% would consider this an option because living alone meant they were unable to save a deposit.

Overall, 59% of people living alone had saved less than £1,000 according to the research.

The Cost of Living Alone Report commented:

“People living on their own spend an average of 92% of their disposable income, compared with two-adult households who spend only 83% of theirs, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis of the expenditure of 25- to 64-year-olds.

“People living alone are more likely to be renting, and feel less financially secure than couples without children, with fewer reporting they have money left over at the end of the week or month.”

Paul Stokes, Head of Products, M&S Bank, commented:

“Many young people are trapped in Generation Rent because house prices seem increasingly out of reach.

“For many, home ownership appears possible only through sacrificing certain aspects of their current lifestyle – be that moving to a different area, moving to a smaller property than they’re renting, or seeing their disposable income take a significant hit.

“But our research has shown that millennials are keen for an alternative option – and joint home ownership is one of them – from housemate to mortgage-mate is a natural progression which can enable more people to achieve the otherwise unattainable – their dream of property ownership.

“Living with and buying a house with friends or family members alleviates the financial pressure of trying to afford home ownership alone – which is unattainable for many. The option of becoming a mortgage-mate is particularly appealing to those already in a housemate arrangement, and our research shows that the concept has become increasingly popular with millennials.”

Have conveyancers found that fewer single people are able to buy property on their own? Should there be more options for people that choose to buy property alone?

The full report can be found here.

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