Housing crisis deepens as concerns mount among increasingly desperate first-time buyers

  • Date: 10/05/2016
Housing crisis deepens 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%), up from 65% four years ago
- 78% of aspiring homeowners concerned about the availability and quality of homes (up 6% 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%) 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.

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% from 64% 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%) 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. Figure 1 Aspiration to Own
  • 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). 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% of aspiring first-time buyers say availability of housing is a serious problem, up from 72% 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.
    • 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 aspiring first-time buyers with 60% saying it is a serious problem up from 57% a year ago. See Figure 3&4: Housing Concerns Trend and Housing Concerns Trend Among Aspiring Homeowners
    • Regionally, quality of housing concerns are greater in the North East (62%), Northern Ireland (62%), London (60%) and the East Midlands (59%). 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% vs 64%), property solicitor / conveyancing fees (50% vs 61%) and estate agent fees (54% vs 64%) have all dropped since 2014.
  • Concern about house prices has nudged upwards over the past year (78% vs 76% of UK adults say it is a serious problem). Regionally, the issue is seen to be most acute in London and worsening where 88% say house prices are a serious problem, up from 87% last year and 84% in 2014. See Figure 5&6 2016 Regional Housing Concerns and Regional Housing Concerns Trend
  • This has coincided with a significant drop in the level worried about negative equity. Now only 44% of UK adults say they are concerned about negative equity, compared to 49% last year and 64% two years ago; after a steady increase in house prices. Northern Ireland is bucking the trend as negative equity continues to feature, with two thirds (66%) saying it is a serious problem. Figure 6 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:
    • 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 negative equity 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.

Notes to Editor
2016 Homeowner Survey

  1. This is the 4th Annual Homeowner Survey, a state of the nation report on the housing concerns and trends affecting homeowners and those aspiring to own.
  2. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  The surveys were carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). 
    a) In 2016, total sample size was 2,095 adults of which 1,293 were Homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken 4-5th April 2016.
    b) In 2015, total sample size was 2,214 adults of which 1,390 were Homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken 4-5th March 2015.
    c) In 2014, total sample size was 2,527 adults of which 1,606 were Homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken 20th March 2014.
    d) In 2013, total sample size was 2056 adults of which 1,393 were Homeowners.  Fieldwork was undertaken 18th-21st January 2013.
  3. The 2016 Homeowner survey was made possible through sponsorship by BLP Insurance, leading provider of housing warranty insurance. 
  4. Related releases from the survey include: Support for Stamp Duty Surcharge

Please link to the HOA website at http://hoa.org.uk/ and the BLP website at http://www.blpinsurance.com/

For media enquiries about HomeOwners Alliance, please contact: Chantal or Sophie at Panpathic Communications – Chantal@panpathic.com / 07788 184 649 or Sophie@panpathic.com / 07815 860 082

For media enquiries about BLP Insurance, please contact:
Four Broadgate, Cara Penkethman on 020 7726 6111 or BLPInsurance@fourbroadgate.com

Paula Higgins, CEO of HomeOwners Alliance is available for interview.  Images of charts available as jpegs.

About the HomeOwners Alliance
The HomeOwners Alliance champions the interests of Britain’s homeowners and aspiring homeowners. We are a consumer group providing helpful advice and services and acting as the voice of the homeowner in the media, lobbying for their interests in government, and campaigning against bad practices in industry.

We directly engage with government and media by conducting independent research and publishing reports that champion the interests of homeowners.  In addition to our annual Homeowner Survey, previous publications include:

  • Why the Mystery? – An investigation into the murky world of estate agent fees and contracts
  • Stamping on Aspiration - The astonishing impact of stamp duty on homeowners and the housing market
  • On the Edge - 300,000 interest-only mortgage holders set to lose their home
  • The Stresses of Buying and Owning a Home
  • The Death of a Dream – the crisis of homeownership in the UK

We are one of Britain’s most popular and fastest growing property advice websites, staying true to our mission to help homeowners facing some of the biggest and most complex decisions of their lives. Last year, more than 2 million homeowners and aspiring homeowners visited our website, www.hoa.org.uk, viewing over 4.5 million pages.

At hoa.org.uk, we provide independent advice for the key moments in owning a home, supported by legal and industry experts.  Get our free newsletter with a market-wide view of house prices and all the latest tips on buying, selling, improving and managing homes.  On our website you can find free independent guides, checklists and top tips.

About BLP Insurance
BLP Insurance offers housing warranty insurance and commercial development latent defects insurance underwritten by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE. Our insurance is a compelling alternative to the 'traditional' 10 year new home warranty solutions and our commercial latent defects insurance product is the most comprehensive in the market. Unlike traditional new homes warranties, BLP’s insurance covers the building – not the developer – and does not ask developers to pay up front registration fees, ongoing membership fees, bonds, guarantees or deposits. For claims, only proof of damage is required not proof of liability. BLP’s cover is approved by all of the major British mortgage lenders.

We provide peace of mind for homeowners and protect their investment from the risk of undiscovered defects, because: our insurance policies are backed by an AA rated global insurer; we will have properly assessed the build project from design through to workmanship on site, to help minimise the chance of future defects; and if a defect does arise the homeowner won't have to prove who is to blame, just that there is a defect.
We have been providing construction insurance since 1989, trading as BLP since 1999. We are owned by Thomas Miller, a world class insurance services business at the forefront of the insurance industry for over 125 years. BLP Insurance is regulated by the FCA. www.blpinsurance.com

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