Climbing the Property Ladder – The Growing Role of the Bank of Mum and Dad

Getting a foot on the property ladder is becoming an increasingly complex challenge for many, with a significant number of first-time buyers turning to the Bank of Mum and Dad for that much-needed financial boost. This trend highlights a changing trend in the journey towards homeownership, with nearly half of all first-time purchasers now relying on financial support from family and friends.

The Rising Tide of Family Support

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown reality facing those aspiring to own their first home. With property prices reaching sky-high levels, a staggering 36% of first-time buyers in the financial year 2022/23 sought financial gifts from their loved ones to make their dream of homeownership a reality. Additionally, 9% were able to step onto the property ladder thanks to inheritance money. This marks a significant rise from two decades ago, where the figures stood at a mere 20% receiving help from family and friends, and 3% using inheritance funds.

A Shift in Milestones

The ONS’s Milestones report offers a deeper insight into this phenomenon, tracking key life experiences and the ages at which they occur. It has been observed that the age by which more than half of the population owns a home has edged up from 32 years in 2004 to 36 years in 2022. This shift is emblematic of broader changes in society, where major life events such as leaving the parental home, marriage, and retirement are occurring later in life. For instance, the age by which half of the population in England and Wales leaves their family home has risen from 21 in 2011 to 24 in 2021. Similarly, the proportion of unmarried or civil partnered couples aged 25 to 29 living together surged from 56% to 72% over the same period.

The Changing Face of Adulthood

Kerry Gadsdon of the ONS comments on these findings, “Everyone’s journey through adulthood is different, but we can use a range of data to explore key events in life. We’ve examined how these milestones of adulthood have changed over the past decade and can see how society is shifting. People are doing many things later in life, like leaving their parents’ home, getting married and retiring. But not everything has changed. Most people still enter the workforce at 23-24 years old and make the most money in their 30s to 50s. It’s more surprising, perhaps, given rising property prices, 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.”

A Snapshot of a Changing Society

This comprehensive data offers a snapshot of how the journey through adulthood is transforming in the 2020s. The increasing dependence on the Bank of Mum and Dad for securing a first home underscores the economic challenges facing the current generation of would-be homeowners. It also highlights the changing nature of family dynamics and the pivotal role they play in facilitating major life milestones.