Almost half of the UK public think young people cannot afford to buy their own home because they spend too much on takeaways, mobile phones, subscription services like Netflix and holidays abroad.
Young adults themselves are more likely to agree than disagree that such spending is a reason for their failure to get on the housing ladder.
The research, by the Policy Institute and Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London, found 48% of millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 - agree with this view compared with 33% who disagree, and there is a similar split among members of Gen Z - born between 1995 and 2012 – at 43% versus 33%.
The research was carried out to mark the Institute of Gerontology’s annual David Hobman lecture, which will be given today by Professor Bobby Duffy, author of the book Generations: does when you’re born shape who you are?
There was also a high level of recognition among the more than 2,200 respondents that economic factors are also preventing young people from buying a home and that it is harder to get on the property ladder.
Three quarters of respondents agreed that the key reasons young adults cannot afford to buy their own home are factors such as the increase in house prices, stricter lending rules and low wage growth.
The research also found that young people are seen as less hardworking than older generations, stopping them saving enough for a home.
Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said: “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. That so many think it’s the case will be partly because it’s so often repeated by commentators.
“But it also reflects our general tendency to think bad of today’s young people.”
Professor Duffy said people always think the current youth are the worst ever, adding: “We also tend to think of young people as lazy, with half of people again saying they are less motivated at work than older people.
“But we think better of young people from our own youth: only 29% think young people were less motivated than older workers when we ourselves were young.
“Part of the reason for our clichéd view of young people will be that we now live much more separately than in the past, with young people more concentrated in cities and older people in smaller towns and villages. Most of the public correctly identify that this is the reality now – but 56% of us also think this has always been the case, when it’s actually a relatively recent trend, starting in the 1990s.”