ING: Saving for a new home is not top financial priority

Jessica Nangle

February 4, 2020

A majority (82%) of Brits say they are prioritising at least one other goal over saving for their first home according to the ING International Survey.

Over half (58%) of those surveyed feel the housing market is on the wrong track, with 43% expecting house prices to rise in the next 12 months.

Of renters who have never owned a property, 39% say they don’t expect to be able to buy.

This compares to 9% who plan to buy before 30 and 8% who say they don’t want to buy property.

A further 79% of Brits agree that it is increasingly difficult for first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder.

However, despite not prioritising home ownership, 71% agree that it is better to own than to rent from a financial perspective.

Jessica Exton, behavioural scientist at ING, said: “Lots of us want to own our own home one day.

“Not only because it’s considered to be a smart financial decision, but because home ownership is an emotional and personal goal.

“But houses are expensive, and many perceive them as only becoming more so.

“Some are consequently taking longer to save their deposit and buying later in life.

“Given these extended timeframes, it’s not necessarily surprising that many are finding additional reasons to spend and save in the shorter term.

“Funding travel today, while planning to buy a home soon, for example.”

Julien Manceaux, senior economist at ING, added: “Consumers are reactive to changes in housing costs.

“Since 2014, the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing policy had a direct impact on national housing markets.

“It sent interest rates on mortgages to unprecedented lows.

“The drops between 2014 and the time of our survey are above 1 percentage point in most countries.

“This increased the borrowing capacity of many potential buyers and thereby improved market affordability.

“And we now see that slightly less people agree that for first-home buyers it is increasingly difficult to buy, especially in those countries where interest rates dropped the most.

“Potential interest rate changes are a commonly cited ownership deterrent and this change appears to have impacted survey responses.

“Eurozone citizens seem to feel ECB’s policies in their lives after all.”

John Ellmore, director of Know Your Money, emphasises how lack of accessibility can be detrimental.

Ellmore said: “Everyone has different financial priorities, but our preferences should not be dictated by a lack of accessibility.

“Some people simply do not find the prospect of being a homebuyer appealing; they do not want to be tied to one place or one property.

“However, as house prices have risen at pace over the past decade, more and more consumers have come to hold the view that getting onto the property ladder is simply out of their reach.

“But what can be done to reverse this trend?

“Improving access to education is a great place to start.

“It is important that potential homebuyers know how much they would need to save for a deposit, what costs are involved in buying a property and what kind of support is available to them, such as help-to-buy schemes and stamp duty exemption.

“Work must clearly be done to address the imbalance between supply and demand in the housing market, which is driving up prices.

“But that should not overshadow the fact that there are saving options and mortgage products that are really well suited to first-time buyers.

“The property industry – from brokers and lenders to estate agents and advisors – must help guide potential homebuyers through the important questions so they do not feel this option is unattainable when it might not be.”

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