Home ownership levels are at their lowest since 1985. Back then, unsecured lending was much lower and savings rates much higher (as was unemployment). What does it mean?

For several elections now, all political parties have promised to build more houses, but none has managed to deliver. A generation ago, the answer was to borrow more to get on the housing ladder. Today, however, in a more tightly regulated mortgage market, the trend is increasingly to rent.

But if mortgage debt is falling, unsecured debt is rising. We know this worries the regulators but by rights it should worry firms as much. If this does signal a generational shift, many firms' business models will need to change quite radically.