It isn’t just media hype – we do have a housing crisis and that crisis is not just about availability of homes, it’s all about affordability.
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.
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. The continued low interest rate environment has eased concerns about the ability to pay off the mortgage. 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 (left), 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.”