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The housing market is broken at every level with everyone from first-time buyers, second-steppers to downsizers struggling, the Homeowners Survey 2018 has found.

The research on behalf of HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance, found millions of UK adults are failing to realise their dream of homeownership or are stuck in houses that are unsuitable for their needs as a result of affordability issues and lack of properties.

While almost three in four non-homeowners (74%) want to own their home one day, affordability problems are preventing them from doing so.

The main reasons cited for not being able to buy their first home include: property prices are too high (66%), difficulty saving for a deposit (58%) and difficulty getting a new mortgage (31%).

Paula Higgins, chief executive, Homeowners Alliance, said: “These figures show the true scale – and indeed, the breadth – of the problems facing the housing market.

“Buyers and sellers at every single level are being met with problems and it’s clear that tinkering with just one area will not solve this crisis.“

“The housing market is broken at every level. A massive 74% of people want to own their own homes, yet millions face the realisation that might never happen.”

Higgins added: “At HomeOwners Alliance we’re doing all we can to help those struggling in the market with advice, calculators and tools but there needs to be some drastic action to address this.

“The government needs to come up with a long-term strategy. If 7.5 million people being locked out isn’t a tipping point, what is?”

Aspiration to own is at its highest level in six years for first-time buyers with 74% wanting to own one day with affordability being the biggest reason. Some 66% said property prices being too high, 58% said difficulty saving a deposit and 31% put it down to difficulty getting a mortgage (31%).

Half of second-steppers looking to move but not following through, wanted to do so for a bigger property. And affordability is the main barrier preventing a move for them, with stamp duty (24%) and being able to increase an existing mortgage (18%) being relatively bigger issues for this group.

Some 46% of last-time buyers cited suitable housing as a reason preventing their move.

Nearly two thirds (64%) of homeowners 55+ who considered but did not move said it was difficult to find a property with the characteristics they were looking for.

Relatively more important property characteristics for them included: a garden/outside space (80%), a property in good condition (no major improvements needed), (79%) and parking (76%).

Following this there were low running costs/maintenance (74%), good transport links (61%), proximity to friends/family (47%), proximity to shops/restaurants (40%) and living on one level (38%).

Kim Vernau, chief executive, BLP Insurance, said: “A comprehensively integrated approach is needed to cure the ills of the housing market.

“Government policies such as the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers may have created positive headlines but it ignores the needs of large swathes of potential buyers.

“By recognising the interconnected nature of the housing market and implementing policies that will positively affect all, real progress can be made.”

“One of the biggest challenges facing the sector is incentivising elderly individuals living in large, former family homes to downsize.

“Constructing an adequate stock of purposely-built homes for last time buyers, that meets their specific needs, has the potential to free up housing stock for first and second-time buyers and inject much needed impetus into the whole market.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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