Understanding demographics – Britain’s aspiring homemakers disappearing from major city centres

Richard Jenkings

Richard Jenkings says understanding the evolving demographics of the UK is an essential insight for organisations of all shapes and sizes

According to a recent Experian study, first time buyers are now more likely to be living in the Western Isles of Scotland than in Kensington and Chelsea.

Using Experian’s Mosaic segmentation tool it’s possible to build a detailed picture of the demographics of particular areas and the types of people who are likely to live there.

The latest insight we’ve pulled is that virtually none of Britain’s aspiring homemakers can be found living in central parts of London.

The research was a look into where the youngest generation of house buyers in the UK are now living.

Most likely to be first time buyers, Experian defines ‘aspiring homemakers’ as young families on the first rung of the property ladder, aged 26-35, typically thinking about starting a family. This group are driven by affordability when selecting somewhere to live, typically looking to balance a location close to city centre amenities with cost.

The bottom 20 UK locations for aspiring homemakers is dominated by London. Five London boroughs: Lambeth, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea, are in the bottom ten, alongside much more remote communities with lower populations, such as Arran and Cumbrae and the Isles of Scilly.

First time buyers

Bottom 20 UK locations for Aspiring Homemakers as a percentage of the local population

In London those first time buyers that remain have been pushed to the outer boroughs, with the top five locations accounting for nearly half of the total population of aspiring homemakers in London:

London homeowners

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Rising house prices have been a constant challenge for first-time buyers in the UK and with deposits for first time buyers at over £80,000 on average in London it’s clear to see why it is those trying to get onto the ladder that have been most effected by burgeoning property prices in London.

Where young families are now setting up a home clearly has implications for a wide range of businesses and public sector organisations, from retailers to local authorities and the NHS.

The majority of first-time buyers in London are now living in the outer boroughs and the more affordable South and East of London. The central areas have become inaccessible, with the impact of house prices meaning the percentage of aspiring homemakers within boroughs such as Kensington and Chelsea is actually fewer than we see in more isolated regions, such as the Isles of Skye and Lochalsh.

This follows from previous research that has shown how younger families on the first step of the property ladder are in the process of creating rural suburbs in their search for more space to bring up growing families (read my previous article on ‘ruburbs’ here).

Nationally, the picture highlights the presence of aspiring homemakers in many towns that are within commuting reach of major cities, particularly London.

Aspiring homeowners

Top 10 locations for Aspiring Homemakers as a percentage of the local population

The population in British cities has clearly dramatically altered in recent times. With central areas now dominated by a combination of the very well-off and a new generation of young renters.

Increasingly, aspirational homeowners have to move outside the city for their first homes, while younger families who are looking for more space must look farther afield to more rural areas, with rapid transport links, to fulfil their housing needs.

What does this mean for brands?

Understanding the evolving demographics of the UK is an essential insight for organisations of all shapes and sizes, helping them to connect with the right audience at the right time.

Brands need to know their customers in order to tailor their communications and services to suit them. Customer experience is the major battleground of modern marketing and understanding your customers is the crucial first step.

So as a brand if you’re looking to open a store in a specific place or want to focus a particular advertising campaign on particular geographic areas, make sure you know who lives there and the sort of person they are.

Different people have different wants, desires and needs depending on their lifestyles. Keeping abreast of change is one thing but sophisticated customer analysis is necessary to make sure you are reaching the right people with the right messages.

Read more about Mosaic here.

The First Time Buyers Research is just one example of the multitude of insights Experian Marketing Services can provide using its range of insight tools and platforms – including the Mosaic Segmentation tool.

Experian Marketing Services helps bring brands and customers closer together through detailed consumer insights and cross-channel marketing solutions.