‘Falling prices’: how the housing market is shaping the future of our cities

New research by the Economist Intelligence Unit has found that as a result of the sharp fall in the price of houses, the proportion of households that own their own homes is set to fall from 58% to 56%.

The data comes as it emerged that real estate agents are already warning that house prices are at an all-time high. 

In a study for the Economist magazine, the agency’s head of housing, Peter Molloy, found that real house prices in England and Wales are now on track to hit the highest levels in decades. 

He noted that a decade ago prices were “trending in a very similar direction to their pre-bubble years”.

“In the past three years, house prices have soared from £8,500 to £9,400 per square metre, driven largely by an influx of foreign buyers, and the resulting property boom has created new opportunities for people to buy,” Mr Molloys report said.

In his analysis, Mr Molls found that the number of homes being bought by people from other countries has “increased from 9,500 in 2007 to nearly 20,000 in 2020”.

The proportion of the population owning their own home has also risen from 59% in 2007, to 61% in 2020. 

Mr Mollolls research also found that more than one in four households were renting.

“Households that own have become more likely to be renters, with two-thirds now renting in England, up from a little over one in five in the early 1990s,” he wrote.

The number of foreign-owned houses is set a record for England and it is expected to increase to 50% by 2027, according to the latest figures from the National Land Survey. 

It is understood that the report is based on data from the British Housebuilders Association and has not been independently verified by other data providers.

It is also unclear how many households in England now own their homes.

In 2015, the government said it was investing £1.8bn in affordable housing over the next five years, and was also investing in new homes for first-time buyers.

However, the report suggests the government may not be able to meet its target. 

“In the longer term, we think it is likely that the affordability target will need to be adjusted,” said Paul Martin, a housing economist at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“If we don’t get housing for first time buyers and first-home buyers in the long term, then we will be in the same situation as we were in before the crisis.”