The British love affair with home ownership remains strong, but it is "far from clear" how many people will achieve their dream of getting on the housing ladder in the uncertain economy, a study has found.
Eight out of 10 people who took part in a survey for the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) hope to own their own home in 10 years time and three quarters aspire to do this within the next two years.
The findings show how the desire for home ownership remains "strongly entrenched" despite people's worries about the economy and job losses in the midst of a recession. The numbers represent a small decline on the 78% in 2007 who said they wanted to own their home in the next two years and the 84% who wanted to achieve this goal within 10 years.
The difficult economy and the ongoing eurozone crisis has caused lenders to tighten their borrowing criteria. More than a million people saw their mortgage rates go up last month due to a string of lenders imposing increases, blaming the weak economy and the increased cost of funding a mortgage.
The CML found that aspirations are much higher than actual home ownership levels among those aged under 35, but it is "far from clear whether and how people will achieve their home ownership goal".
It found that most people who are privately renting or sharing with family and friends are in this age group, and 54% would like to become home owners in the next couple of years. But only a third of those who hope to be home owners in two years time said they actually expect this to happen.
Bob Pannell, CML chief economist said: "The results clearly show that the British love affair with home ownership is far from over. But achieving the home ownership dream has become more difficult for people, and is likely to remain so, especially for the young.
"We need to ensure that good quality housing is available in a variety of different tenures, and that the growing private rented sector represents an attractive choice for those who do not want, or cannot attain, home ownership."
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: "Today's survey from the Council of Mortgage Lenders makes clear that many young people continue to dream of owning their own home, and I'm determined that we do all we can to help those looking to get on the property ladder.
"That's why we've worked with builders and lenders to offer the NewBuy Guarantee, which enables people to buy a newly built home with just a fraction of the deposit they would normally require, and nearly 3,000 new homeowners have been created thanks to the FirstBuy scheme, which offers a valuable alternative to the 'Bank of Mum and Dad'."