Report20 September 2018Updated one week ago

Homes and Mortgages: Are house prices too big a stretch?

Our latest ING International Survey on Homes and Mortgages asked nearly 15,000 people what they think of the housing market in their country. Housing affordability challenges are hardly news, particularly for first-home buyers but people say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy a home and we see a generational shift in ownership expectations 

Executive summary

Our research finds people perceive buying a house to be difficult because it's just too expensive, regardless of the personal importance placed on home ownership. However, what astounds us in our latest report is just how much expectations differ across age groups; within a single generation. We find that people now expect to buy much later if they expect to buy at all.

The notion of a home encompasses so much more than a place to live -  we attach feelings of comfort, safety, and achievement to where we live, often overvaluing our home against market prices because it means so much to us.

This partially explains why people place so much importance on home ownership – a large majority agree that owning is better than renting financially, yet it is continually harder for young people to step on the property ladder.

And young people agree, one in three say they have given up on buying a home, while only a small portion expect to do so before they turn 30. 

This leaves a generation which is moving out later and even when they finally do, are largely moving out into rental arrangements, either alone, with friends or with a partner. In this current environment of high rental costs and stagnant wages, a high portion of take-home pay is dedicated to the costs of renting - leaving little left over for living expenses and saving for the ultimate dream of ownership.

Despite the obvious economic and cultural differences, these results seem to be consistent across the 15 countries surveyed.