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UK second home ownership jumps as generational split hardens

[LONDON] One in 10 adults in the UK owns multiple houses, underscoring a growing generational divide in the nation's property market.

While overall home ownership has dropped this century as prices skyrocketed, the number of people with at least two properties has jumped 30 per cent to 5.2 million between 2000-02 and 2012-14, the Resolution Foundation said on Saturday.

The vast majority of multiple home owners were born before 1980, with so-called baby boomers - born between 1946 and 1965 - alone accounting for 52 per cent of the wealth held in additional properties.

The report is another sign of the deepening economic divide in UK society between the young and old, made worse by quicker inflation and weak wage growth since the Brexit vote last year.

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A report from the Office for National Statistics last month showed that the disposable incomes of retired households have risen 15 per cent since 2008 in real terms, while working households have seen almost a decade of stagnation.

About 40 per cent of adults have no property wealth at all, the report said, up from 35 per cent in 2000-02, while 88 per cent of additional property owners are in the top half of the wealth distribution.

Millennials - born since 1981 - owned just 3 per cent of additional property assets, and are the first group since records began to have less of it than predecessors at the same age.

"With young people much less likely to own a home at all than their predecessors at the same age, the growing concentration of property wealth among fewer families raises concerns not just for their living standards but for wealth inequality of our country as a whole," said Laura Gardiner, a senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation. "Policy makers should consider what more can be done to ensure that home ownership doesn't become the preserve of the wealthy for generations to come."