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Page last updated at 08:38 GMT, Saturday, 24 March 2012

'Home ownership is in retreat'

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The stamp duty holiday for first-time homebuyers ends today with everyone buying a property worth between a £125,000 and £250,000 now having to pay duty of 1% of the purchase price.

29-year-old Elizabeth Hudson who is trying to buy her first home described the "social pressure" of owning her own home.

She said that she "feels like an outsider" when she sees her peers owning their own homes.

We need much longer term security if we are going to be a nation of renters.

The problem is not getting a mortgage, it's getting the money together for a deposit when outgoings are going up and up.

Juliet Gardiner, British historian and a commentator on social history, pointed out that "owner occupation was incredibly low" and only ten percent during the first World War owned their own home.

She went on to say that the "state likes owner-occupiers", going back to Disraeli when the view was that when you own your own home "you have a stake in society".

Owen Jones, author of Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class, said that the its true that the push towards home ownership was "a political project".

But he said that the real consequence of this is that there are now five million waiting on housing lists because government stopped building, stock was sold off and never replaced.

Now "private rents are soaring" he said using the example of London where rents have risen by 12%.

"It's about balance... and security", he said, going on to say that "instead of wasting billions on housing benefits" this should be used to build social housing which would give people the option of security.

Juliet Gardiner said that in terms of investment, most people regard "money in bricks and mortar in Britain as a safe investment".

But Owen Jones said in reality home ownership is in retreat.

He said that housing is "crucial to welfare, wellbeing and health" but home ownership is increasingly further from reach.


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