A new report from the TUC says that home ownership creates hardship for poorer people who stretch themselves to the limit to fulfil their dreams.
It says there are 3.1 million owner occupiers living in poverty, of whom two million have mortgages.
It says that many of them are unable to move, trapped in areas where there are few jobs.
‘Can Housing Work for Workers?’ – written for the TUC by the Fabian Society – calls for a new approach to housing policy and says that although more and more people want to own their own homes, home ownership does not always bring prosperity.
The report says that back in 1975 only 62% of the adult population aspired to own their own home, but by 2010 the figure had risen to 89%.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “This report argues that false assumptions about the benefits of home ownership have led to policy makers failing to acknowledge that many owner occupiers are trapped in areas with few jobs.
“A new approach is needed, which includes extending financial and advisory support to owner occupiers and accepting that both private rented and social housing have a vital role to play in creating greater mobility for those seeking work and greater financial security.
“Without new thinking, the UK is likely to repeat the mistakes of the past and become trapped in a cycle of housing boom and bust.”
The report calls for housing support to owner occupiers in poverty, compulsory insurance for all new mortgages, and the deliberate creation of communities where there is a mix of rental and owner-occupied homes.
It also calls for better regulation of the mortgage market and scrutiny of the financial health of borrowers, and greater provision of long-term fixed rate mortgages, offering greater stability to those who do borrow.