More than half of baby boomers believe that young people aren’t able to save enough money to buy a home because of “luxury” lifestyle choices, such as paying for Netflix subscriptions and buying takeaway coffees.
UK adults born between 1946 and 1964, after the Second World War, are also less likely than any other age group to believe that young adults today struggle with broader economic factors that prevent them from buying a home.
However, the study by King’s College London also found that younger generations are themselves more likely to agree than disagree that the key reason they are unable to get on the housing ladder is because of “luxury” spending.
In total, around half (48 per cent) of the UK public think that young people spend too much of their income on takeaway coffees and food, mobile phones, holidays abroad, and subscription services.
In February, Location, Location, Location presenter Kirstie Allsopp sparked backlash after she said many young people could afford to buy a home if they stopped travelling abroad, buying coffee and paying for the gym and Netflix.
She added that she bought her first home with help from her family when she was 21, at a time when the average house price in the UK was about £51,000. As of March 2022, the average house price in the UK stood at £278,000.
Three-quarters of the public recognise that factors such as increasing house prices, stricter lending rules and low wage growth are preventing young people from buying a home, with three in four (76 per cent) of respondents agreeing that this is the case.
The majority of the public also believe that today’s youth face more financial struggles compared to their parents’ generation, with 76 per cent agreeing that buying a home is harder for young adults now.
At the same time, 68 per cent believe it is harder for young adults to save money for the future, and 65 per cent think it is harder for them to pay for university today.
Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said that spending on things like takeaways and Netflix were “minor factors” compared with the “huge increases in house prices and required deposits”.
He told The Times: “The suggestion that the huge challenges young people face in buying their own home can be solved by skipping fancy coffees and Netflix entirely misses the point, but it’s still believed by half the public.
“It also reflects our general tendency to think bad of today’s young people. Throughout history people always think the current youth are the worst ever.”