Mortgages  

Three quarters of Britons feel homeownership is out of reach

Three quarters of Britons feel homeownership is out of reach

Three quarters (75 per cent) of Britons feel homeownership is out of reach, with many urging the government to fix the housing crisis, according to a report by Yorkshire Building Society.

The study, published this week (June 20), surveyed 1,750 UK adults to understand the challenges of homeownership across every stage of the buying journey.

It found that three in five (59 per cent) of homeowners felt their current home meets none or only some of their needs, while 60 per cent of homebuyers said there are not enough suitable homes in their area to meet the needs of the people living there. 

Yorkshire Building Society's director of mortgages Ben Merritt, said: “The current housing crisis has been years in the making so it’s sadly not surprising that many homeowners are left without any choice but to compromise on their dreams."

This comes as earlier this month, prime minister Boris Johnson announced new measures to support first time buyers

However, Merritt argued that these measures will not go far enough and action is needed to support more than first time buyers. 

​​“The prime minister’s recent speech showed that the government is conscious of some of the barriers to homeownership identified by our report – including the difficulty for many of saving for a deposit," he said. 

"While the pledge to build more of the ‘right homes in the right places’ is welcome, the government’s overall focus remains predominantly on first time buyers, whereas our report shows attention is actually needed at all stages of homeownership."

Half of all homebuyers surveyed said the responsibility is on the government to fix the housing crisis, with 41 per cent in favour of reducing stamp duty as a means of assistance. 

Other solutions proposed included the government building more houses for all stages of life (35 per cent) and financial support from the government for all sectors of the housing market (32 per cent), not just for first-time buyers. 

But in the report, Yorkshire Building Society said: “We do know that at present, shortages of the right types of housing, in places where demand is greatest, is one of the drivers behind the current dysfunctional market.

"Solving the crisis will require more work by policymakers – in relation to a much wider range of policies – and by lenders and the construction industry. We need long-term thinking to solve a long-term crisis.”

House prices have increased by more than 200 per cent during the past 20 years, reaching an average of £278,000 by March 2022, according to the UK house price index. 

Of the 59 per cent of people who said their homes did not meet some or all of their needs, the most cited reason was lack of outdoor space. ‘Too small’ and ‘wrong location’ were the other most cited reasons. 

jane.matthews@ft.com