The over-50 age group now owns 75 per cent of the UK's housing wealth, according to a new study.

Housing equity owned by older people amounted to £2.8 trillion, equating to over £75 in every £100. Under-35s, by contrast, own £6 in every £100 of owner-occupier equity.

Global property adviser Savills carried out the research, which also revealed that over-50 households were most in evidence in the South West of the country, where 48 per cent of all home owner equity is owned by the over-65 age group - a total of £176bn. When the over-50s are included in the group, it holds 80 per cent of the South West's home owner equity - amounting to £293bn.

Lawrence Bowles, Savills research analyst, said: "Our analysis shows that there’s truth in the old stereotype of affluent households selling up in London for a 'move to the country'.

"The figures for the South West of England are evidence of the trend for older home owners making a lifestyle move, making the region arguably the country’s largest naturally occurring retirement community."

Mortgage debt is also less of an issue for older people, with over-65s together holding £112bn, and under-35s holding 117bn.

As home ownership becomes more challenging for younger people, more and more are choosing to rent instead. Just over 20 per cent of households - 4.7m - now rent privately, compared to 10 per cent in the year 2000 - or 2m households. A Knight Frank report published last year forecast that 25 per cent of households will rent by 2021 - equating to 5.8m households. In correlation, as this figure is set to rise, home ownership and social renting are both expected to fall.

Overall, home ownership has fallen from 70.6 per cent to 62.6 per cent over the last 18 years.

But these figures do not mean fewer people want to own a property - 60 percent of renters believe they will buy a property at some point in the future.