Millennials are in line for the biggest “inheritance boom” of any post-war generation, but it will be too late to solve the housing crisis or wealth chasm between generations.
A new report by the influential think tank the Resolution Foundation said wealth accumulated by older people would benefit younger generations in years to come.
But the most common age at which millennials’ – those born between 1981 and 2000 – inherit would be 61, because of their parents’ vastly improved life expectancy.
Inheritances are set to double over the next 20 years, the Foundation said, as so-called baby boomers – born between 1946 and 1965 – become older.
Almost two thirds of people aged 20 to 35 have parents who own property, which they might expect to get a share of in the future. By contrast, fewer than two in five adults born in the 1930s received an inheritance, the report says.
The Foundation said millennials who are yet to get on the housing ladder, are less likely to have property passed on to them.
Even for millennials who can expect an inheritance, this may happen far too late to help them on to the housing ladder, and may be more use for grandchildren’s home ownership, the Foundation claims.
Laura Gardiner, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Older generations have benefited hugely from the big increases in household wealth in Britain over recent decades.
“While the millennials have done far less well in accumulating their own assets, they are likely to benefit from an inheritance boom in the decades ahead.
“This is likely to be very welcome news for those millennials, including some from poorer backgrounds, who in the past would have been unlikely to receive bequests. They have the good fortune to benefit from the luck of the baby boomer generation.
“But inheritance is not the silver bullet that will get a whole new generation on the housing ladder or address growing wealth gaps in society.
“Even for those millennials who will receive a bequest, it’s unlikely to come when they’re coupling up, having children, and trying to buy a family home when the extra wealth would be much needed, but as they approach retirement instead.”