Buyers aspire to bigger houses

Despite the housing slump of the past three years, the long-term homeowning aspirations of first-time buyers are higher than at any time since the 1970s.

New research for the AA Home Emergency Response service reveals that of those who have bought their first home in the period since the 2008 housing peak, 37% say they feel they can realistically aspire to owning a detached home. The equivalent figure for those buying in the 1970s was 39%, falling to 33% for first-time buyers in the 1980s, and 32% for those entering the housing market in the 1990s.

Aspirations for the size of home have increased – while the percentage expecting to progress to a detached home with two to three bedrooms fell slightly from 13% in the 1980s to 12% for those buying since 2008, the proportion of first-time buyers with expectations of a four- or five-bedroom house have risen from 19% to 22% over the same period.

The political debate about mansion taxes has not dissuaded people from thinking ownership of a very large home will be feasible for them – 3% of those buying their first home since 2008 expect to eventually own a home with six or more bedrooms, three times the proportion of those getting their first mortgage in the 1980s.

The 1980s is remembered as the decade in which Margaret Thatcher’s government heavily promoted the benefits of home ownership. However, for a quarter (24%) of those buying in that decade, a terraced home was the limit of their home owning ambitions. Only 15% of those buying for the first time since 2008 believe their ultimate home will be a terraced one.