A growing number of Britons believe the country is experiencing a housing crisis, according to a poll commissioned by newspaper the Observer and Guardian Cities. The survey shows that four in every ten people questioned say they won’t ever be able to afford to buy their own home.
And, 73% stated they couldn’t afford to purchase a property without financial help from their family.
A separate survey by Legal & General and the Centre for Economics and Business Research concurs with parts of the Observer’s findings. The L&G survey shows that the ‘Bank of Mum & Dad’ are expected to help 300,000 buy a home in 2016. This equates to around £5 billion worth of mortgages which, if the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ where a bank, would put them in the top ten mortgage providers in the UK!
While these surveys rely on opinions and figures that people are willing to give and may not be exact or absolutely truthful, they still highlight a worrying trend – the possibility of following family traditions and getting onto the housing ladder is becoming increasingly out of reach for hard-working Britons. And, if things don’t change, Generation Rent could become the norm.
These surveys are undoubtedly very interesting, but, that they are now beginning to chime with many official comments and business surveys and indexes shows that the British nation of home-owners are pretty well tuned to what is really going on.
Until recently, the UK’s builders had been very busy and the number of homes built per year increased year-on-year since around 2010. Now, however, just when the Government appears to be really getting behind the need to build more homes and to make it easier to do so, activity is slowing. To make matters worse, the population continues to expand apace and property prices are still rising while average earnings growth remains muted at best.
When you consider such a combination of events, it’s no real surprise that people are starting to feel the pressure. After all, if there aren’t enough homes for the population in the first place, and the average price of property is continually pushed out of reach for average earners then what else could happen but people being unable to buy even a modest home in the right location?
Of course, the slowdown in construction of residential homes may well be just a blip that recovers later on this year. But, building rates still need to increase significantly in order to produce enough homes to satisfy demand.
It does appear that Prime Minister David Cameron and the British public are in agreement on one score: that more affordable housing needs to be built and made available in good locations and large enough for families as well as young professionals. As with many things, only time will tell if this will happen, but there are plenty of people, young and not-so-young, who hope we do become “The builders” Chancellor George Osborne predicts.