Julian Harris
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A GENERATION of Britons fear being squeezed out of the property market and doomed to a lifetime of renting, a survey reveals today.

Nearly two thirds of 20 to 45 year olds who do not already have a mortgage say “they have no prospect whatsoever of buying a home,” according to a report by the National Centre for Social Research and the Halifax.

Large, mandatory deposits and the perception that banks are not lending have deterred the group dubbed “Generation Rent” by the report’s authors.

Just five per cent of this group are making sacrifices to save for a deposit, with 95 per cent either unable or unwilling to put money aside each month.

Britain is set to become more like some neighbouring European countries where renting is seen as the norm, according to nearly half the surveyed 20 to 45 year olds.

“This could open up a widening of the wealth gap that already exists between home-owners and non homeowners,” commented report author Alison Blackwell.

“And people in Generation Rent risk insufficient finances at retirement,” she added.

Over nine in 10 (92 per cent) of those surveyed said it was hard for first time buyers to get a mortgage, while almost two thirds (61 per cent) say that many wish to avoid the “stress and anxiety of applying for a mortgage.”

“Of course, not everyone wants to get on the housing ladder,” said Stephen Noakes of the Halifax,

“However, 77 per cent of people in our research expressed a real desire to own their own home, but for two-thirds it’s an impossible aim.”

“We therefore want ‘Generation Rent’ to be aware of the opportunities available to them, and dispel any myths about the mortgage process,” Noakes added.

Prospective first time buyers who manage to jump on the property ladder by the end of the year are set to be rewarded with a resurgence in house prices, according to separate research also revealed today.

Prices will fall by 1.4 per cent this year, but then surge back by 16 per cent by 2015, the Centre for Economic and Business Research has predicted.

“We think the market is currently close to the bottom for the UK as a whole,” said CEBR chief Douglas McWilliams. Prices in London will rise two per cent faster than in the rest of the country, the CEBR also expects. But other economists still expect further house price declines.