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Young British adults’ homeownership circumstances and the role of intergenerational transfers

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Despite the continuing preference for homeownership, it has become increasingly difficult for young adults to own a home in Britain. House prices have increased faster than real earnings between the mid-1990s and the 2010s, resulting in significantly deteriorated affordability. Mortgage products have also become less accessible, as a large deposit has been required to secure the loan after the financial crisis of 2008/09. Previous studies point to the increasing role of intergenerational transfers in filling this gap. Some young adults obtain help from family to become homeowners, either receiving monetary support or by saving through living at the parental home. Using the Wealth and Assets Survey, this study attempts to examine the effect of these two types of family financial support on young adults’ homeownership circumstances, and controlling for other characteristics such as parental homeownership. First, it examines the characteristics of homeowners among young adults cross-sectionally using logistic regression. Second, by focusing on the non-homeowner subsample it analyses the effect of direct (money) and indirect (co-residence) family support on young adults’ entry to homeownership in the six-year period using discrete-time event history analysis. The results show that chances of young adults’ homeownership between 2008/10 and 2014/16 are very much tied to family support. The odds of becoming homeowners who have received direct or indirect support are found to be three times higher, even after accounting for other characteristics.
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Keywords: Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS); homeownership; inequality; intergenerational transfer; parental support

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Oxford, UK and London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

Publication date: July 2020

This article was made available online on April 21, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Young British adults’ homeownership circumstances and the role of intergenerational transfers".

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  • Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (LLCS) is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the needs of researchers studying the life course and using longitudinal methods at the interfaces of social, developmental and health sciences. It fosters cross-disciplinary and international endeavours and promotes the creation and exploitation of longitudinal data resources as well as their application to policy issues. As the journal of the Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (SLLS) it provides an opportunity for scholars at all stages of their careers to publish work crossing disciplinary boundaries which is often beyond the scope of more conventional, single-field journals.

    Longitudinal research involves the follow up of individuals, households, communities or other groups over time. Life course study focuses on the influences that shape holistic pathways from conception to adult life and old age. LLCS brings together the broad range of specialist interests in an international, multi-disciplinary, multi-method framework.

    The Editors welcome submissions which report on research or methodological development, in one or more of these fields and from a spectrum of disciplinary approaches: sociological (quantitative and qualitative), demographic, economic, geographic, historical, psychological and behavioural, epidemiological and statistical. Typically papers deal with individual data in several domains (for example physical or mental health, education, housing, employment) as they change over time, and set in their life course and policy context. International comparisons are encouraged within papers and can be made between them.

    In addition to carrying research articles, the Journal specialises in publishing study profiles introducing particular longitudinal studies to scientific and policy users and the designers and managers of other studies It explores new forms of longitudinal data collection, including the exploitation of administrative sources. Occasionally, it also publishes edited debates and invited pieces about the research-policy interface, keynote addresses at SLLS conferences, and reviews of books of special relevance to our readership. The Editors seek to ensure that all research reporting is accessible to the journal's multi-disciplinary readership and encourage comparisons and collaborations between countries and studies. We are especially eager to showcase findings from parts of the world where longitudinal studies are increasingly being established, such as East Asia, Africa and South America. LLCS strives to maintain the highest quality in accepted papers through double-blind peer review, drawing on an international as well as interdisciplinary network of editors and reviewers.

    Back issues of Longitudinal and Life Course Studies are available via the PKP Platform.

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