Nearly half (48%) of Brits think that young people are failing to get onto the property ladder because they spend too much money on subscription services like Netflix (NFLX), takeaway coffee and food, mobile phones, and holidays abroad, according to a new report.
The Policy Institute and Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London report highlights that these are minor factors when the huge increases in house prices and required deposits along with stagnating wages are considered.
The typical first-time buyer house price-to-earnings ratio has almost doubled since the 1990s, and the average first-time buyer deposit has tripled from 5% of the value of the property in 1989 to 15% in 2019, according to a separate report by the Resolution Foundation.
The British public do recognise these economic factors are also preventing young people from buying a home, with three in four (76%) agreeing the key reasons young adults today cannot afford to buy their own home include the increase in house prices, stricter lending rules and low wage growth.
However, many people think young adults don’t put in the effort needed to save for a home and tend to view young people today as lazier than older people, as well as lazier than they were in their youth.
Almost half (46%) of respondents said that younger workers were less motivated and hardworking than older workers.
Despite this, the report found a clear sense that today’s youth face more financial and economic struggles than their parents’ generation – with 76% thinking buying a home is harder for young adults now and only 11% believing it is easier than it was for their parents’ generation.
More than two-thirds (68%) think it is harder for young adults to save for the future, and 65% feel it is harder for today's youth to pay for university.
Over half (52%) also said that finding a job is harder for young people nowadays.
Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said: “The suggestion that the huge challenges young people face in buying their own home can be solved by skipping fancy coffees and Netflix entirely misses the point — but it’s still believed by half the public.
“That so many think it’s the case will be partly because it’s so often repeated by commentators, which recently included Kirstie Allsopp.
“But it also reflects our general tendency to think bad of today’s young people. Throughout history, people always think the current youth are the worst ever, as seen in the half of people who agree with a quote, often attributed to Socrates back in 400BC, berating young people for their love of luxury, gossip and bad manners."
He added: “Part of the reason for our clichéd view of young people will be that we now live much more separately than in the past, with young people more concentrated in cities and older people in smaller towns and villages.
“Most of the public correctly identify that this is the reality now — but 56% of us also think this has always been the case, when it’s actually a relatively recent trend, starting in the 1990s.