Housing ladder is broken at every step experts claim

housing market

The UK’s housing market is broken at every level with everyone from first time buyers, second-steppers to downsizers struggling, the latest research has revealed

According to the Homeowners Survey 2018, which polled over 2000 UK adults online, millions of UK adults with issues towards the housing market 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 three in four non-homeowners (74%) want to own their home one day, affordability problems are preventing them from doing so.

The main reasons include:

  • property prices are too high (66%)
  • difficulty saving for a deposit (58%)
  • difficulty getting a new mortgage (31%).

The study suggests that affordability is the biggest barrier for second steppers. More than half of the respondents in the survey (58%) admitted to considering a move, but not actually moving due to increased house prices that they could not afford.

Of the 1.2 million homeowners aged between 18-54 (second-steppers) – who have considered a move in the last two years but did not do so – the study found that 50% were moving to find a bigger property, suggesting these homeowners may be in homes too small for their needs.

Further results concluded that almost a third of second-steppers (24%) are more likely to say that tax is their biggest barrier.

This means Stamp Duty is a bigger concern for second-steppers than for any other segment of the market.

In response to the findings, Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of 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?”

One in five last time buyers, homeowners aged 55 or over, considered a move in the past two years but have not done so. Research suggests that a lack of suitable housing is the main reason why they do not follow through with their plans to move.

This equates to more than 1 million homeowners reluctant to move.

Despite the governments move to abolish Stamp Duty for first time buyers, Kim Vernau, Chief Executive of BLP Insurance argues that despite this creating positive headlines, it ignores a large pot 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.

The Homeowners Survey is in its sixth consecutive year and reflects the state of the nation on the housing concerns and trends affecting homeowners and those looking to buy for the first time.


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