Housing a worry for Almost a Quarter of Britons, Poll Shows

Britons are the most concerned about housing than they have been for over 40 years, a recent survey from pollsters Ipsos-Mori shows.

In its regular monthly ‘issues’ survey, in which it questioned 983 people between August 1 and 11th, housing climbed up the list of worries for the British public and is now the fifth biggest concern.

The survey, in which immigration was the biggest worry for respondents in August, has been conducted since 1974 and has charted many changes through the years. The other main concerns that made up the top five in August were the European Union, the NHS and the economy.

Responding to the survey, deputy chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing Gavin Smart said the findings were “worrying but not surprising”, industry publication Inside Housing reported. He said: “Just last week we learned that the construction of new homes continues to fall short of the levels we need… “This is more evidence that the government must take action in the Autumn Statement to build more homes people can afford and to give support to the organisations ready to build them.”

The details of the survey also include the demographics of the increased concerns over housing. One-in-four of people aged 18-34 were more likely to mention housing as a concern compared with 17% of over 55-year-olds. Meanwhile, renters were also more worried than home-owners; 27% of renters were more concerned over housing compared with 22% of home-owners with a mortgage and 14% of those who owned their own home outright.

The UK’s ‘housing crisis’ has become increasingly topical in recent months, spurred on by worries over what impact Brexit will have on the UK’s economy and demand for housing. Although there is a drastic discrepancy between the number of homes available and being built and the demand for property across the country, builders are loath to commit to increased construction if the costs are too high and demand wanes as it could hit their profit margins.

In the meantime, London Mayor Sadiq Khan continues to keep housing at the top of his agenda, while the Government is reported to be discussing a £50 billion plan to bring an end to the worsening housing crisis.

But, with land at a premium – particularly in London – those firms which are building homes in the capital have another potential problem to contend with, Londoners preference for low rise homes.

In a separate survey by Ipsos-Mori, Londoners expressed their aversion to high-rise buildings outside of the city and Canary Wharf, with the majority eschewing high-rise apartments (buildings constructed of 20 floors or more) in favour of lower buildings and more houses.

Around a quarter of the 500 people questioned for the survey said they thought terraced home would help provide more housing for Londoners, while low-rise purpose built flats were preferred by 21%. Just 8% of greater Londoners said they thought high rise apartments would be beneficial and improve the availability of homes in the capital. In contrast, 60% of inner Londoners said they felt tall residential developments were mainly for ‘wealthy foreigners’ and 46% of outer Londoners agreed with that view.

Of course, this is just a survey and is unlikely to impact on which plans are approved or not. But, it gives an inkling into the many problems the government and builders are facing with regards to ending the UK’s growing housing crisis.

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