Buying a house
By 1901 a growing minority of better-off workers wanted
the security of home ownership and, to meet this need, building
societies developed as working-class institutions.
The extent of home ownership varied widely between regions
at the turn of the century. Almost a third of Oldham's housing
stock was said to be either owned by, or being purchased by,
artisans. In 1904, Barrow-in-Furness Trades Council claimed
that, if a worker could raise a £10 deposit on a small
terraced house, his mortgage payments would only be 3s a week,
saving at least 2s on what he would otherwise have had to
pay in rent. Nonetheless, as has been commented, 'only the
élite of the working class could afford home ownership
- and even then at the cost of self-sacrifice and thrift'.
Even by the end of 1918, only about 10% of housing was owner-occupied.