New survey shows housing crisis is deepening as concerns mount among increasingly desperate first-time buyers

More people dream of becoming homeowners, with the proportion of non-homeowners who aspire to own their home rising to almost three quarters (73 per cent), up from 65 per cent four years ago

  • 78 per cent of aspiring homeowners concerned about the availability and quality of homes (up 6 per cent from last year)
  • House prices, the ability to get on the property ladder and saving for a deposit continue to top the nation’s list of housing concerns

The housing crisis is deepening as concerns mount about the availability and quality of homes, while increasing numbers aspire to own the roof over their head, according to the 2016 Homeowner Survey conducted by YouGov for HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance.  The survey, in its fourth year, 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 per cent) of non-homeowners now say they would like to own their home compared to 69 per cent last year, 68 per cent in 2014 and 65 per cent 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 per cent and 80 per cent 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 per cent, up from 72 per cent last year. Aspiring homeowners are also increasingly concerned about the quality of housing, with 60 per cent 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 per cent from 64 per cent two years ago, as house prices have continued to rise.

Paula Higgins, the Chief Executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said:

“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 per cent) of non-homeowners say they would like to own a home in the future, compared to 69 per cent last year, 68 per cent in 2014 and 65 per cent in 2013. Figure 1 Aspiration to Own.
  • However, difficulties related to buying your first home top the list of housing concerns nationally – 82 per cent of UK adults say the ability to get on the property ladder is a serious problem and 80 per cent say saving for a deposit is a serious problem. This is followed by house prices (78 per cent say it is a serious problem) and the availability of housing (72 per cent say it is a serious problem). See Figure 2 for full breakdown of housing concerns.
  • Nearly 8 out of 10 aspiring first-time buyers are worried about the shortage of housing and concern is deepening over time. 78 per cent of aspiring first-time buyers say availability of housing is a serious problem, up from 72 per cent in 2014/ 2015. See Figure 3 & 4 to compare the housing concerns over the last 3 years amongst UK adults and aspiring first time buyers.

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

  • Quality of homes is an increasing concern, particularly among aspiring first-time buyers.  52 per cent of UK adults say quality of housing is a serious problem up from 49 per cent last year. Concerns have also risen among aspiring first-time buyers with 60 per cent saying it is a serious problem up from 57 per cent a year ago. See Figure 3&4: Housing Concerns Trend and Housing Concerns Trend Among Aspiring Homeowners

o    Regionally, quality of housing concerns are greater in the North East (62 per cent), Northern Ireland (62 per cent), London (60 per cent) and the East Midlands (59 per cent).  Concern about the quality of homes has risen in each of these areas over the past year. See Figure 5&6 2016 Regional Housing Concerns and Regional Housing Concerns Trend

  • People are less worried about the cost of moving than they were a few years ago. The proportion saying these are serious problems: stamp duty rates (52 per cent vs 64 per cent), property solicitor/ conveyancing fees (50 per cent vs 61 per cent) and estate agent fees (54 per cent vs 64 per cent) have all dropped since 2014.
  • Concern about house prices has nudged upwards over the past year (78 per cent vs 76 per cent of UK adults say it is a serious problem).  Regionally, the issue is seen to be most acute in London and worsening where 88 per cent say house prices are a serious problem, up from 87 per cent last year and 84 per cent in 2014. See Figure 5&6 2016 Regional Housing Concerns and Regional Housing Concerns Trend

Regional Findings from the 2016 Annual Homeowner Survey:

See Figure 5 &6 2016 Regional Housing Concerns & Regional Housing Concerns Trend

  • 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. Levels of concern about house prices, availability and quality of homes rising over time.
  • North West and Scotland are more positive housing markets generally:

o    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.

o    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 per cent) say negative equity is a serious problem compared with 44 per cent 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.

Figure 1: Trend Aspiration to Own (Among Non-Homeowners): 2013-2016 Homeowner Survey

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Figure 2: Top Housing Concerns (Among UK Adults): 2016 Homeowner Survey

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Figure 3: Housing Concerns Trend Among Total UK Adults (2014-2016 Homeowner Survey)

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Figure 4: Housing Concerns Trend Among Aspiring Homeowners (2014-2016 Homeowner Survey)

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Figure 5: Regional Look at Housing Concerns: 2016 Homeowner Survey

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Figure 6: Regional Housing Concerns Trend: (2014-2016 Homeowner Survey)

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