ONS research: our property journey through life

Apr 11, 2024
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has explored life’s most important milestones and how they have changed over time. Using a range of data sources, ONS has identified key life events such when people leave the parental home, enter the workforce, get married and earn the most money. Also, the age at which people tend to experience them, and how they have changed over time. In other words, how society is changing.
•  Moving out later: Half of young people in England and Wales had moved out of their parent’s home by age 24 in 2021, up from age 21 in 2011.
•  Moving in before marriage: The number of couples in England and Wales aged 25 to 29 who were living together but not married or in a civil partnership rose from 56% in 2011 to 72% in 2021.
•  More help with housing: In 2022-23, 36% of recent first-time home buyers in England had help from friends and family, 80% more than in 2003-04 when only 20% had such help.
•  Older renters: The number of people living in rented accommodation rose from 2011-2021 in England and Wales. This was greatest amongst those aged 35-54, which increased by half from 2011 (14%) to 2021 (21%).
•  Decreasing gender pay gap: Women earned 85.7p for every £1 men made in 2023 (average for all UK employees) up from 80.2p in 2013.
•  Becoming grandparents later: In 2021 to 2022, more than half of people in the UK were grandparents by age 65, four years older than in 2011.
Young people may live at home to avoid paying high housing costs and in some cases to save to buy a property. London was the least affordable region for buying a home and privately renting a property in 2022. Find out more in our Housing affordability and private rental affordability in England and Wales bulletins.
In 2022, more than half of people owned their own home (either with a mortgage or outright) by age 36 years. This has increased from 32 years in 2004. The long-term trend shows an increase in the age that more than half of people own their home, although the short-term changes are less clear. A greater proportion of people aged over 60 owned their homes outright 2022 than in 2004.
Kerry Gadsdon, ONS: “Given rising property prices, it's surprising that in 2022 half of adults in the UK were on the property ladder by the age of 36, around the same as in 2012. However, financing a first purchase has changed. In 2021, 80% more first-time buyers in England had help from friends and relatives compared with 20 years ago."
Milestones: Journeying through modern life - read more and download the data here.
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