Give local councils more power to make homes affordable, say Brits in new survey

A new survey commissioned by Eurocell, the manufacturer, distributor and recycler of PVC-U window, door, conservatory and roofline systems, has found that 42% of Brits don’t think enough is being done to make homes more affordable – just days after the Chancellor announced a raft of new measures aimed at helping ease the current housing crisis in the Budget.

Nearly two fifths (38%) said that they felt houses would become more affordable if local planning authorities were granted greater power to ensure the housing needs of individual areas are met. Other steps identified as being needed to help tackle the cost of homes included the government giving more help to home buyers (35%), and the wider use of cost-effective building products in developments (30%).

Overall, almost half said it was unlikely or highly unlikely that they’d be able to own their own home in the next five years. As a result, 45% of people believe that they will have to rent for a significant period of time, a prospect they disliked, with only 8% saying they felt they were in a good place to save for their own property. The biggest barrier to home ownership was identified as high renting costs that prevent savings (35%), followed by being unable to afford a mortgage (29%), and a general lack of affordable housing (14%).

Chris Coxon, head of marketing at Eurocell, said: “As the nation is currently in the middle of a housing crisis it’s perhaps unsurprising that the public want to see more being done to tackle the issue. However, it is somewhat telling that there is such a strong feeling that local authorities should be granted more power to ensure houses that meet local needs are built, rather than luxury accommodation, as people try to realise the aspiration of an affordable home in their local area.

“In addition to this, people are acknowledging that they are going to have to rent for an extended period of time. The fact they are unhappy about this shows that the private rental sector must ensure that it is considering tenant wellbeing when it comes to the properties it develops. We have already seen the sector start to make positive moves in this direction, and as this continues you would hope that people would begin to feel more comfortable with the prospect of renting over an extended time period.”

Other findings of the survey, which canvassed for the views of 1,000 25-40-year olds and was conducted between the 25th and 30th October 2018, included:

  • Those in Northern Ireland, London and the West Midlands were the most optimistic about their prospects of owning a home in the next five years – with 69%, 65% and 63% respectively saying it was either likely or highly likely
  • Those in Wales, Scotland and the South West were the least optimistic about the prospect of owning a home within five years – with 78%, 69% and 69% respectively saying it was either unlikely or highly unlikely
  • The most important features respondents looked for when looking to purchase homes were location (61%), cost (56%) and security (24%)
  • For 25-30-year olds and 36-40-year olds, the biggest barrier to home ownership was identified as affordability of mortgages; for 31-35-year olds, rental costs that prevented savings were the greatest challenge