We all think the UK has a housing problem

Nia Williams

September 23, 2010

The research was outlined at the CML’s “Future Housing” conference by CML chief economist Bob Pannell.

The biggest problem is seen as the fact that young people cannot afford to buy, or take on too much debt to do so, cited by 80% of respondents.

Too many people on housing waiting lists (48%), housing market boom and bust (44%), the cost of moving house (37%), and the lack of supply of new homes (35%) were also seen as problems – but each of these was cited by fewer than 50% of respondents, paling by comparison with the perceived plight of young would-be first-time buyers.

Yet consumers appear sceptical about whether the government can make a difference. While 15% thought it likely or very likely that the government could improve first-time buyer affordability over the next five years, 80% thought it unlikely or very unlikely.

Indeed, there was a high degree of scepticism about the likelihood of the government alleviating any of the problems identified. In every case, the proportion of people who felt help was unlikely exceeded the proportion who felt it was likely. However, the balance of opinion was less negative about the likelihood of government addressing energy efficiency (-2%), the size of new homes (-10%), and the prospect of some social tenants transitioning to the private sector (-14%).

Commenting on the findings, CML chief economist Bob Pannell observed: “The survey found that, on balance, people expressed support for tighter lending criteria. But their high level of concern about would-be first-time buyers sits very uneasily with this. Overall, there is a strong case for saying: be careful what you wish for.”

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