UK homeowner attitudes shifting

Sam Cordon

September 27, 2013

Conversely just one in ten people in the UK consider long term renting to be a better life choice than buying a property outright and more than half (58%) of the 2,000 respondents still believe that buying a house constitutes an important part of their future planning.

Watson Burton said much of this may still reflect the stigma associated with long term renting. While the proportion of households renting has risen since the financial crash in 2008, it is still lower than the all-time high figure from the 1970s, proving that buying houses is still an integral part of the British psyche.

While the figure does vary slightly among different life stages and socio-economic groups; for example the over 55s are more likely to favour buying over renting in the long term compared to 18-24 year olds, our natural inclination still seems to be to jump onto the property ladder as early as possible.

After the recent boom and bust in the housing market, the barriers to buying continue to be high property prices (56%), lack of mortgage deposit (51%) and difficulty in qualifying for a mortgage (44%).

Other highlights of the research include:

• Half of respondents (49%) think the impact of the financial crash has made it more difficult to qualify for a mortgage

• Nearly half also worry about the rising cost of living, with 47% saying they are less likely to have money left over at the end of the month after deducting general living expenses

• 37% were more likely to worry about their children’s ability to buy a home

• Respondents were generally positive about the Government’s initiatives to boost the housing market. 52% of respondents who had bought or were actively considering buying a home were aware of the Help to Buy programme and believed it may assist them in buying a property

Tracy Hall, partner at Watson Burton, said: “While we no longer see home ownership as our retirement fund it is fascinating to see how driven we still are as a nation to own our own piece of land.

“Our research has shown that only 24% of respondents feel it is more acceptable to rent now than it has been previously.

“This is good news for housebuilders as demand certainly shows no sign of waning. It is also encouraging to see that government attempts to kick-start the market seem to be taking effect. Help to Buy is being well received across the board, but particularly amongst the next generation of home owners.”

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