27 February 2017

Home is much more than the materials that make it. It should be a place where people feel safe and can truly be themselves.

Attitudes towards housing vary significantly from country to country in other respects, however. In some countries many people are happy to rent their home throughout their life. Countries such as Germany or Switzerland have relatively low rates of ownership, influenced by local traditions and regulations.

But home ownership is an aspiration for the majority of people in many other places, according to Beyond the Bricks: The meaning of home , a new HSBC study – with aspiring owners aiming to get a foot on the property ladder early.

Technology may have changed attitudes towards housing by fuelling the rise in working from home

The study of more than 9,000 people across nine countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America examines people’s attitudes towards property and home ownership. It found that an average 40 per cent of people between the age of 18 and 35 – the “millennial” generation – already own a home. Among those who do not own, 83 per cent intend to buy in the next five years.

In other words, young people strongly value home ownership. While technology has led to many being happy to stream music or rent cars without feeling the need to own them permanently, the same ethos does not seem to extend to bricks and mortar.

Technology may have changed attitudes towards housing by fuelling the rise in working from home. Some 50 per cent of millennials sometimes work from home, compared with 33 per cent of Baby Boomers (those aged 53 to 70). If home is the focus of your professional as well as your personal life, it may make ownership even more desirable.

Young people attempting to get a first foot on the property ladder may face significant financial hurdles. In some places, salaries have stagnated since the financial crisis while average property prices have risen. Most millennials who aspire to buy a home need more savings for a deposit or a higher salary to achieve their ambition.

A lucky few are able to turn to relatives for help. Of those millennials who have already bought a property, some 36 per cent received financial support from their parents to do so. Others face difficult choices and must consider compromises.

Cutting back on other spending, such as leisure and eating out, could make the prospect of buying more realistic. Some young people are prepared to think about buying a smaller property than they would ideally like, while others would seriously entertain the idea of teaming up with a family member to buy.

Whatever their background and savings strategy, taking a dispassionate approach to planning can help aspiring owners get what they want. Setting a savings target can provide motivation and focus. A realistic estimate of the additional costs over and above the mortgage – such as renovation, buying furniture or service charges – helps avoid unpleasant surprises once the purchase is complete.

Buying a property is often a stressful experience, but it can ultimately have emotional benefits. Our survey shows that people who own are much more likely to be very happy with their home than those who rent – an outcome that should make all the planning worthwhile.

Read more about the HSBC study Beyond the Bricks: The meaning of home .

Note: Beyond the Bricks is an independent consumer research study into global home ownership, commissioned by HSBC. It provides authoritative insights into peoples’ attitudes and behaviour towards home buying, renting and funding around the world. The global factsheet, The meaning of home, represents the views of 9,009 people in nine countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Malaysia, Mexico, UAE, UK, USA. The findings are based on a survey of home owners and non-owners aged 18 or older from a nationally representative online sample in eight countries and a nationally representative face-to-face sample in the UAE. The research was conducted by Kantar TNS in October and November 2016.