Housing is often ‘the dog that doesn’t bark’ in elections but last week could it have been nipping away in the background?
One of the most striking pieces of analysis of how Britain voted came from the Financial Times, which showed how pro-Conservative or pro-Labour voters were divided by age group. Those in their middle years – 45- to 54 year-olds – were equally likely to vote either way while older people – especially those over 65, were far more likely to vote Conservative.
On the other hand, young people, especially those under 35, were even more likely to vote Labour. The gap between old and young was also far wider now than in previous elections. As the Financial Times puts it, people under 25 created a landslide for Labour while the over 65s moved in the opposite direction.
What’s this got to do with housing? Well it can’t be coincidence that the over 65s are the one group to buck the trend away from homeownership. Since 2004, the proportion who owner-occupy has gone up from 72% to 78%, with nearly all of these having paid off their mortgages. Many are safe and sound in their own homes, and if they have an interest in the housing market it’s in prices rising, not falling.