• Issue 37

  • Jun 2018

The Source

Millions of Brits Trapped in Unsuitable Homes Due to Housing Shortage

Latest research has revealed that the UK’s housing market is broken at every level with everyone from first timer buyers, second-steppers to downsizers struggling.

The Homeowners Survey 2018 surveyed over 2000 UK adults online, on behalf of HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance, and according to the poll, millions of UK adults are failing to realise their dream of homeownership or are stuck in houses that are unsuitable for their needs as a result of affordability issues and lack of properties.

The study found that while almost 74% of non-homeowners want to own their home in the future, affordability problems are prohibiting them from doing so, with too high property prices (66%), difficulties in saving for a deposit (58%) and difficulties in getting a new mortgage (31%) as the main reasons specified.

Affordability is also the biggest barrier for the sector classed as ‘second steppers’ (homeowners aged 18-54), whose biggest reason for considering a move but not moving are house prices and being able to afford to move (58%). Of the 1.2 million second-steppers who have considered a move in the last two years but have not done so, 50% were wanting to move to a bigger property, which indicates that these homeowners may be in homes too small for their needs. Second-steppers are also more likely than any other sector to express that Stamp Duty tax is another cause for concern (24%).

Of the ‘last time buyers’ (homeowners aged 55 or over), 20% had considered a move in the past 2 years but had not done so; with 46%, which equates to more than 1 million homeowners, citing lack of suitable housing to be the main barrier preventing their move.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive at Homeowners Alliance, said, “These figures show the true scale – and indeed, the breadth – of the problems facing the housing market. Buyers and sellers at every single level are being met with problems and it’s clear that tinkering with just one area will not solve this crisis.”

“The housing market is broken at every level. A massive 74% of people want to own their own homes, yet millions face the realisation that might never happen. At HomeOwners Alliance we’re doing all we can to help those struggling in the market with advice, calculators and tools but there needs to be some drastic action to address this. The government needs to come up with a long-term strategy. If 7.5 million people being locked out isn’t a tipping point, what is?”

Chief Executive at BLP Insurance, Kim Vernau, added, “A comprehensively integrated approach is needed to cure the ills of the housing market. Government policies such as the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers may have created positive headlines but it ignores the needs of large swathes of potential buyers. By recognising the interconnected nature of the housing market and implementing policies that will positively affect all, real progress can be made.

“One of the biggest challenges facing the sector is incentivising elderly individuals living in large, former family homes to downsize. Constructing an adequate stock of purposely-built homes for last time buyers, that meets their specific needs, has the potential to free up housing stock for first and second time buyers and inject much needed impetus into the whole market.”