Northern Ireland home ownership in dramatic decline, PwC find

The number of people renting rather than buying homes is rising dramatically

ONLY six-in-ten people in Northern Ireland will own their own home by 2025, according to a new report.

Business advisors PwC said rates were "changing fundamentally" as people turn to the private rental sector in their droves.

While 72 per cent of people in the north owned the house they lived in in 2000, the rate is expected to drop to less then 60 by per cent by 2025.

The remainder will rent mainly from private landlords, the research found.

The findings have prompted PwC to dub those aged 20 to 39 'generation rent'.

More than a quarter of people will rent from the private sector by 2025, PwC said with the trend driven by low levels of house building and a growing number of young people.

The rate would put Northern Ireland on a par with levels experienced in London in 2000. The UK capital is expected to see a complete turn around by 2025 with just 40 per cent owning their home.

PwC's chief economist in the north Dr Esmond Birnie said several factors were contributing to the situation.

"Across the UK, a lack of new affordable housing stock, high deposits and property prices outpacing income growth, all combine to increase the numbers of those in so-called ‘generation rent'," he said.

“In Northern Ireland this is accompanied by a significant number of properties still in negative equity and a lack of confidence in the market from both developers and potential purchasers.

“Add a young and mobile workforce who often prefer high-quality rental apartments to purchasing terraced properties and we are seeing the emergence of a generation that perceives private renting as a real option to property ownership and its attendant costs and liabilities.

“Consequently, as the table shows we estimate that, between 2000-2025 Northern Ireland will have experienced a 14 per cent fall in owner-occupation matched by an almost 20 per cent increase in the rate of private sector renting.”

The most recent report by surveyors in Northern Ireland suggested fewer homes were being brought to the market.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said the number of new houses being offered for sale fell for the second month in succession in January.

It is predicting the trend will result in average house price increases of 5 per cent this year.

The most recent official figures from the Northern Ireland Property Price Index put the cost of a typical house in the north at £116,765 over the three months to September 2015 – up 7 per cent on the same period the previous year.


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