Time was, when owning your own home was a country obsession. But the UK was not very entrepreneurial. According to a new report, home ownership among younger adults has collapsed. It’s odd, because the UK has become very entrepreneurial.
“There is view among the younger generation that we don’t need to own more stuff,” Simon Biltcliffe, a judge at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, told Fresh Business Thinking. Simon, founder & CEO Webmart continued: “People don’t want cars, necessarily, they will share, collaborate, upcycle, recycle, much more freely. For the younger people, rent is the only option, so you become more transient. They think ‘there is no way I can have a mortgage, so I have freedom,’ and also the tools are available and free to collaborate and come up with new ideas quite quickly.” He said it’s liberating and is creating a more entrepreneurial culture.
Lucy-Rose Walker, Chief Entrepreneuring Officer at Entrepreneurial Spark and also a judge at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, expressed similar sentiments. She told Fresh Business Thinking: “I think we are moving into a very transitional world. People won’t own houses or own other assets, so I think we are going to see a big change in ownership, which the millennial generation is more comfortable with. There used to be a sense that you would grow up, get married, but it is acceptable not to do any of those things. This is having a liberating effect.” And this change is helping to create a more entrepreneurial way of thinking.
According to a new report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, home ownership among adults aged 25 to 34 and earning between £22,000 and £30,600 has fallen from 65 per cent, 20 years ago, to 27 per cent in 2016.
Andrew Hood, a senior research economist at the IFS, said: “Home ownership among young adults has collapsed over the past 20 years, particularly for those on middle incomes.”
But is change connected with the rise in entrepreneurship?
Having a mortgage does tend to make people more risk averse, while mobility of labour tends to be lower when home ownership is higher.
So what can younger people do and which supports entrepreneurial thinking?
There has been a rise in the popularity of living in barges, travelling the canals, caravan/mobile homes and even in people turning double decker buses into homes.
That’s Britain in the 20 teens. More entrepreneurial, house prices out of reach for great swathes of the population, but hey, there is always a boat - or maybe shipping container - which are being turned into small homes - or life, quite literally on the buses - or at least, a bus.