Affordable housing meets expectations

According to new research by the NHBC Foundation, 80% of Housing Association residents remain pleased with their new homes, saying they were very satisfied or satisfied after three to four years of occupancy.

Nearly two-thirds said their home was much better than their previous residence, illustrating that standards of new affordable housing are meeting expectations and often exceeding them.

There was a high level of satisfaction with many key aspects of design, such as space, internal layout and security, and residents themselves identified a wide range of positive attributes of their new homes.

In addition over 80% of residents were satisfied with the overall appearance of their housing development and most felt that it integrated well with surrounding buildings and met the needs of residents.

However, modern living was found to challenge some aspects of design, with nearly 30% of residents dissatisfied with parking provision and a further 27% were dissatisfied with storage space, with some residents struggling to store basic household items.

The adequacy of ventilation was also a concern, with 55% of those surveyed recognising one or more symptoms of poor ventilation: dampness and/or condensation (41%), mould (28%), or lingering cooking odours (10%). In addition some residents were dissatisfied with the winter temperatures in their homes and, significantly about 20% found their heating controls difficult to use.

The findings are outlined in Affordable homes: residents’ views of quality and compared with the HCA Quality Counts surveys which take place shortly after residents move in. Conducting this survey three-to-four years after residents have moved in means they have had more time to appreciate both the longer-term advantages and consider any issues they have encountered with their new home. The results provide an important new picture of residents’ ongoing satisfaction levels.

Neil Smith, head of research & innovation at NHBC, said: “The standards of new affordable housing are such that most residents are still pleased even three or four years after moving in, long after the initial euphoria of having a new home has worn off.

“This is great news, but there is still room for improvement. Providing more help to residents on how to run their homes more effectively should be a priority for housing associations and developers. The research highlights increasing expectations for parking and the challenge this creates for the overall design of developments.”