Lack of supply and high prices affecting buyers at all levels of the housing market

12-6-2018

A lack of supply and high prices are affecting all home owners in the UK, including first time buyers and downsizers, a new survey has found.

Affordability is the main issue with the annual home owners survey showing that 74% of people who want to own their own home cannot afford to do so.

Some 66% of first time buyers said it is because property prices are too high, 58% have difficulty saving for a deposit and 31% say they are finding it hard to get a new mortgage.

The survey on for the HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance, concludes that millions of adults are failing to realise their dream of home ownership or are stuck in houses that are unsuitable for their needs.

Affordability is also the biggest barrier for second steppers. The biggest reason for considering a move but not moving among home owners age 18 to 54 are house prices and the cost of moving with 58% affected by these issues.

Of the 1.2million second steppers who have considered a move in the last two years but did not do so, some 50% were moving to find a bigger property, which the survey report says suggested that these home owners may be in homes too small for their needs.

The research also found that 24% of second steppers named stamp duty as a barrier to buying a bigger home. The report says this highlights that paying the tax is not just a concern for first time buyers.

Some 20% of home owners aged 55 or over, so called last movers, considered a move in the past two years but 46% did not do so because of a lack of suitable housing, the main barrier for following through with the plans, equating to more than one million home owners.

‘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,’ said Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance.

‘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. There needs to be some drastic action to address this. The Government needs to come up with a long term strategy,’ she added.

A comprehensively integrated approach is needed, according to Kim Vernau, chief executive, of BLP Insurance. ‘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,’ said Vernau.

‘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,’ Vernau added.