"Affordability" Biggest Problem with British Housing

Wednesday, 05 March 2014

Despite government efforts to help new homeowners get a foot on the property ladder, a new poll conducted by The Guardian and ICM has revealed that the biggest issue facing house hunting Britons is affordability.

Nearly 70% of respondents said that the biggest problems needing to be solved involve the cost of housing in the UK. Of that number, 29% said that the biggest problem was that it’s too difficult to get a mortgage, 24% said that a lack of social and council housing was an issue, and 15% said that the high rents set by private landlords should be dealt with.

These statistics paint a worrying picture, especially as the British housing market continues to pick up speed. Of those polled, 63% of respondents said they would prefer the housing market to stabilise, and 20% would prefer house prices to fall. This is compared to 14% who would like house prices to continue rising.

The booming property market in the south of England has even seen affordable housing rise to unsustainable levels - in government terms, ‘affordable housing’ means that the rent is only 80% of market price: meaning low income households may now still struggle with the costs of their property. The Guardian points out that this means the weekly rent for a three bedroom affordable home in Brighton would be £247.

The high cost of housing has made it a top five issue in the 2015 elections. Despite the government’s Help to Buy scheme, a quarter of people aged 20 to 34 are still living with their parents. According to the Office of National Statistics, this number has increased by more than 25% since 2006.

What's more, an article published last year in This is Money shows that many young people have now given up on the idea of getting onto the property ladder at all. More than half of the 25 to 40 year olds interviewed believed that renting would become the norm over the course of the next generation.

Renting a property can of course be more cost effective than buying, as there’s no need to save up for a huge deposit. There are still a number of associated costs, though, including bills and home contents insurance cover - while the landlord will have some insurance to protect the fixtures and fittings, your possessions are your responsibility.

1. www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/12/affordability-biggest-housing-concern-poll-high-rents  
2. www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2014/feb/03/affordable-housing-meaning-rent-social-housing  
3. www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-boomerang-generation-a-lack-of-affordable-housing-is-putting-huge-strain-on-young-lives-9077289.html  
4. www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2343088/Young-people-think-Britain-generation-rent-government-schemes-wont-ease-property-ladder-struggle.html  

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