New survey shows housing crisis is deepening

Posted 11 May 2016 by Helen Christie

Increasing numbers of people aspire to own their own homes according to the 2016 Homeowner Survey...

The 2016 Homeowner Survey conducted by YouGov for HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance is in its fourth year and polls over 2000 UK adults on the housing concerns and latest trends affecting homeowners and those aspiring to own. 

The survey shows that the appetite amongst UK residents to own their home has been steadily rising over the past four years. Almost three quarters (73%) of non-homeowners now say they would like to own their home compared to 69% last year, 68% in 2014 and 65% in 2013. 

While the desire to own is rising, the ability for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder and saving for a deposit remain top concerns nationally (among UK adults, 82% and 80% respectively say these are serious problems). 

On top of this, the proportion of aspiring homeowners who say that the availability of housing is a serious problem has jumped to 78%, up from 72% last year. Aspiring homeowners are also increasingly concerned about the quality of housing, with 60% saying it is a serious problem.

The survey shows that the housing crisis is most acute in the capital, as Londoners head to the polls to elect a new mayor. However, there is a noticeable drop in concern about the rates of stamp duty, in the wake of the government’s reforms of the stamp duty system. Concern about negative equity has slumped among the UK overall to 44% from 64% two years ago, as house prices have continued to rise. 

Paula Higgins, the chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, says: “Despite a blizzard of government initiatives aimed at helping homeowners, the housing crisis is deepening across the country, with ever more non-homeowners wanting their own home, and ever greater concern about the lack of housing. Many government policies have boosted demand for homes, but what this survey shows is that the real problem is the desperate shortage of houses. Until the government tackles the fundamental issue that we just don’t have enough good quality homes, the housing crisis will continue to deepen and a generation will continue to have their dreams of homeownership crushed.” 

Kim Vernau, chief executive of BLP Insurance says: “We are now at a critical juncture for the construction industry and housing market. The Government urgently needs to speed up the delivery of new homes for aspiring first time buyers. Tenures of all types are required across the country and affordable housing and social housing should also be a priority. Balancing these competing demands is a challenging task, particularly given the shortage of labour skills that we are currently witnessing in the construction industry.  This is likely to get worse in the absence of key initiatives to help address this critical issue and the new Housing & Planning Bill and threat of a potential Brexit could tilt the construction labour market even further off balance.” 

Key findings from the 2016 Annual Homeowner Survey

Aspiration to own your home is rising. Almost three-quarters (73%) of non-homeowners say they would like to own a home in the future, compared to 69% last year, 68% in 2014 and 65% in 2013. 

Trend aspiration to own (among non-homeowners): 2013-2016 Homeowner Survey

Trend Aspiration to Own (Among Non-Homeowners): 2013-2016 Homeowner Survey

However, difficulties related to buying your first home top the list of housing concerns nationally – 82% of UK adults say the ability to get on the property ladder is a serious problem and 80% say saving for a deposit is a serious problem. This is followed by house prices (78% say it is a serious problem) and the availability of housing (72% say it is a serious problem). 

Top housing concerns (among UK adults): 2016 Homeowner Survey

Top housing concerns (among UK adults): 2016 Homeowner Survey

Nearly eight out of ten aspiring first-time buyers are worried about the shortage of housing and concern is deepening over time. 78% of hopeful first-time buyers say availability of housing is a serious problem, up from 72% in 2014/2015. 

Housing concerns trend among total UK adults (2014-2016 Homeowner Survey)

Housing concerns trend among total UK adults (2014-2016 Homeowner Survey)

Regionally, concern about availability of housing is most pronounced in London and has risen in recent years.  86% in London say availability of housing is a serious problem up from 80% a year ago and up from 78% in 2014.

Quality of homes is an increasing concern, particularly among aspiring first-time buyers.  52% of UK adults say quality of housing is a serious problem up from 49% last year. Concerns have also risen among potential first-time buyers with 60% saying it is a serious problem up from 57% a year ago. 

Regional findings from the 2016 Annual Homeowner Survey

London is a hotspot for housing concerns. The capital registers higher levels of concern than the UK overall for house prices, availability and quality of housing, ability to get a mortgage / remortgage, stamp duty rates, gazumping and leasehold / freehold system.

North West and Scotland are more positive housing markets generally

The North West region registers lower levels of concern than the UK overall on house prices, availability and quality of housing, as well as, ability to save for a deposit, get a mortgage / remortgage, repay a mortgage, move up the housing ladder, homebuying/ selling process and property solicitor / conveyancing fees.

In Scotland, house prices, the quality of housing and saving for a deposit are less of a concern than in the UK overall. Issues related to the homebuying / selling process and stamp duty rates are also seen to be less serious problems.

In the North East affordability issues including saving for a deposit, ability to get a mortgage/ remortgage, being able to pay off mortgage and being able to move up the property ladder are of greater concern than the UK overall.

Negative equity is a particular concern in Northern Ireland where two thirds (66%) say it is a serious problem compared with 44% in the UK overall.  Negative equity has lessened as an issue in the UK overall in recent years and while negative equity concerns have subsided since 2014 in Northern Ireland, they have not done so to the same extent as the rest of the UK


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