Concerns about property prices reach five year high in the UK

UK adults are more concerned about property prices and availability today than at any point in the last five years, latest research has revealed.

More people in the UK are anxious about property prices and the availability of homes than at any point in the last five years, a new survey has found.

Some 83% of people believe house prices are a ‘serious’ problem, up from 77% five years ago, according to the Homeowners Survey 2018, and 77% say availability of housing is now a major concern, up from 69% in 2014.

Some 57% are worried about the quality of housing, up from 52%, and concerns are worse in London where there are higher prices and more leasehold properties, the YouGov poll for the HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance also found.

Among aspiring first time buyers, the proportion saying house prices and saving for a deposit is a serious problem is up over the past year at 86% and 87% respectively.

People in London are feeling the impact of the housing crisis harder than most with 90% saying house prices are a serious problem, up from 84% in 2014, and 84% say availability of housing is a serious problem, up from 78% in 2014, while66% say the quality of housing is a serious problem, up from 56% in 2014.

Overall prices, availability of housing, quality of housing, being able to move up the ladder, stamp duty rates, the leasehold system, the home buying and selling process and gazumping all register higher levels of concern among Londoners.

The research also found the much criticised leasehold system is the fastest growing housing issue for the second year running with 56% of UK adults now citing it as a serious concern, up from 50% in 2017. These figures are even higher in London at 69%, up from 53% in 2017.

With additional stamp duty reforms introduced this year to assist first time buyers, concern with stamp duty has subsided further over the past year with the number saying it is a serious problem down to 38% from 58% in 2014. Regionally, concern about stamp duty rates is higher in East of England with 59% saying so and 57% in London.

‘The housing sector in the UK is on its knees. There’s a shortage of building, a constant stream of stories surrounding poor quality and unfair deals for home owners, a lack of social housing, rising homelessness and a leasehold system that is dangerously broken. As our survey shows, these problems have escalated over the last five years and the crisis is deepening. We’ve become desensitised to the headlines,’ said Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance.

‘People are just as keen as in previous years to own a home but the system is failing them, despite the introduction of flagship schemes like Help to Buy. Although people have reacted positively to government’s changes to stamp duty house prices and availability continue to be major concerns year on year,’ she explained.

‘It’s telling that leasehold issues have been by far the fastest growing concern for the last two years. The Government needs to hurry up with plans for leasehold reform and be more ambitious,’ she added.

The results of the survey paint a bleak picture for both the UK housing industry and potential home owners, according to Kim Vernau, chief executive of BLP Insurance. ‘Concerns around quality of build reflect the serious deficiencies in quality within design and build procurement which are severely impacting confidence in the housing sector. To meet this challenge design codes and reviews should be implemented industry wide,’ she said.

‘No single initiative will solve the current housing crisis. Steps need to be taken to stimulate SME house builders, embrace technologically innovative build methods and encourage new entrants into an industry suffering from a shortage of skilled workers. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders involved, from government to large developers to SME builders, to commit to meaningful change and push the industry forwards in delivering more, better quality and affordable housing options for those wanting to get on the housing ladder,’ she added.