Social media habits may mask housing problems

Social media habits may mask housing problems

While the housing market for young people is in a bad way, an analysis of social media activity in the UK suggests 18-35s may be masking the problem.

Young people in the UK are finding it harder than ever to get on the property ladder and may take them up to 22 years to save for a deposit. Home ownership for under 35s in London is expected to drop to 5% by 2025, down from 33% in 1986. However, an analysis of 2016 – 2017 UK social media posts show that despite the difficulties faced by the 18-35 age group, it’s still seen as a rite of passage for young people with Instagram, in particular showing nearly 100% of posts containing positive sentiment.

UK Property: 174,000 new homes a year is everything England needs

Property ownership remains a life affirming event for 18-35s and a transition into ‘adulthood’. An in-depth analysis of UK social media shows that Instagram has 3x as many posts related to moving compared to the other main networks; with content being almost 100% positive. Twitter and Facebook showed an alternative narrative, one which is negative overall and contains posts bemoaning the stresses of mortgages, lack of money, and moving itself.

Instagram however portrays a constructed reality where the stresses and toils of reaching the goal are forgotten and they’re finally able to cement their place as adults with a life-affirming photo as a homeowner.

Only 26% of18-35 year olds in London own their home. Young people nowadays are reliant on the ‘Bank of Mum & Dad’ to make it on the property ladder with 51% of 18-34 year olds believing they will need financial help from their parents who will contribute £17,500 and be involved in 25% of mortgage transactions.

The average 30 year old has a salary of £24,000. 70% is spent on accommodation and bills, leaving an estimated disposable income of £340 per month. Given an average UK house price in 2015 of £220,000, a 17% deposit would equate to £37,400. Saving £140pm would allow them to afford the deposit within 22 years. To qualify for a mortgage, it’s estimated they would need a salary of between £38,000 and £40,000 per year. In London and the south east, the picture is bleaker, with the average home costing £480,000.

Fred de Ryckman de Betz, managing director of Attic Self Storage in Bow, East London said the following “Personal storage is one of our core markets and we work with people of all ages and from all walks of life and we’ve certainly noticed the changing nature of the property market in London first hand.”

Meanwhile, new home registrations rose in February this year. 13,277 new homes were registered in February, an increase of 9% on the 12,130 registered 12 months ago, according to NHBC’s latest registration statistics. Of the new homes registered, 9,666 were in the private sector and 3,611 were in the affordable sector.

Tenants are afraid of losing their homes

Overall, there were 36,355 new home registrations in the rolling quarter (Dec 2016 – Feb 2017), compared to 33,142 in the same period last year, an increase of 10%. Private sector registrations increased by 7% over this period, with the affordable sector increasing by 19%

Over the rolling quarter many UK regions experienced notable growth, including Wales (93%), Yorkshire & Humberside (27%) and South West (22%), when compared to the same time last year.

NHBC Managing Director Neil Jefferson said:

“The strong start to this year’s new home registrations continues, with promising signs for the remainder of the first quarter. At a time when there is clearly a considerable demand for new homes, this growth in both the private and affordable sector is welcome news.”

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