In a speech to the Fabian Society earlier this week, Healey said homeownership had declined for the first time ever from 70.9 per cent of all households in 2003 to 68.3 per cent today but that this was not “such a bad thing.”
He also said that Labour should tackle the culture of parents helping their children onto the housing ladder because it compounds inequality over the generations and is unfair.
Healey said the UK needs a new ownership model of shared ownership arrangements and the ability to sell equity in homes back to the council, housing association or co-operative.
He said the UK will move to a more European model of housing where renting will be a more common option.
He said: “Some point to the recession having shaken people’s desire to invest in bricks and mortar. But in reality, homeownership had been dropping since 2005. And I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing.
“At the moment, up to 70 per cent of the population has their money tied up in property. The proportion was boosted by Margaret Thatcher’s Right to Buy. But you don’t need to be a grocer’s daughter to know that it’s not a good idea to have all your eggs in one basket.
“Yet not even a drop in the housing market can convince people not to use their home as a store of wealth. A recent article in The Telegraph showed that nearly a third of people approaching retirement are still relying on their home to top-up their state pension.
“Not only is this property piggy bank unsustainable, it is also unfair. Because increasingly, those without the property-funded ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ are finding it hard to buy homes of their own.
“First-time buyers getting parental assistance has doubled in just three years to four out of every five buyers. And the gap has widened during the global recession – the average age of first time buyers with parental assistance has stayed the same during recession, but the average age of a First Time Buyer without the extra money has shot up from 33 to 37 years old.
“And as housing wealth is passed from parents to children, inequality is compounded over the generations. That’s something that a party that believes in fairness should tackle and I’m pleased that finally the Tories are getting the scrutiny they deserve on their inheritance tax plans. A plan that makes Britain more unequal as time goes on, increasing the unearned windfalls that the children of wealthy parents get.”