Homeownership remains top aspiration for 80%

Warren Lewis
21st October 2016

The latest research from CML has found that home-ownership remains the nations favourite aspiration - and not purely for financial reasons.

72% of adults want to be home-owners in two years' time, and 80% hope to own in ten years' time, broadly in line with the 30-year average sentiment.

But the report by CML chief economist Bob Pannell, based on a survey undertaken on behalf of the CML by YouGov in late June/early July, also reveals some less predictable findings. These include how people perceive part-ownership, and who they think should be helping young people who face affordability hurdles.

In particular, the research confirms that partial home-ownership (through shared ownership or shared equity) is regarded as a good idea by around half of all respondents - around five times the proportion who see it as a bad idea. More people see part-ownership as a stepping stone to full ownership than as a permanent tenure in its own right. This finding comes hot on the heels of another CML research report, Shared ownership: ugly sister or Cinderella? which considers how the shared ownership market can develop.

In addition, a majority of people - regardless of their own circumstances - feel that it is harder than it has ever been for young people to buy their own home.  If those who believe it is "very difficult" are included, the proportion rises to 85%.

75% believe action is necessary to help first-time buyers. Predominantly, people see government as having a responsibility, but mortgage lenders, house builders and local authorities are also widely regarded as having a role.

In terms of the specific measures favoured by those advocating action, special incentives to save for deposits were favoured by more than half and topped the list, closely followed by introducing subsidies for all first-time buyers. Over a third favoured the measures of abolishing stamp duty, reintroducing mortgage interest tax relief, and requiring developers to discount prices of some new homes, among others.

In his foreword to the report, CML director general Paul Smee observes: “Like all good research, the findings give rise to some searching questions for the industry and Government – not least, how far it is possible to balance the tension between aspiration and achievability, which continues to be a feature of the UK’s relationship with home-ownership? And should tenure neutrality be the ultimate policy aspiration?”

The research also found that people see the value of home-ownership as not purely financial. In fact, the two most popular reasons for valuing home-ownership are seen as having the freedom to do what you want, and knowing that once the mortgage is repaid, the property is yours. Seeing the property as an investment or an asset, or a mortgage as cheaper than renting, are cited less strongly.

The study also found that:

- Virtually no existing home-owners wish to have a different tenure in the future.

- Private tenants generally appear to view their position as a temporary state. 56% of private renters would like to own within the next two years, and 71% aspire to own within 10 years.  Only 26% of existing private tenants would prefer to be renting in two years' time, and 15% in 10 years' time.

- Sentiment is not the same among social tenants - 57% of social tenants still want to be living in social housing in two years' time, and 46% in ten years' time.

- Among those who want to be home-owners but are not currently, there is a substantial majority who do not feel confident that they will achieve that aspiration. Less than a quarter of those who are not currently home-owners, but want to be in two years' time, believe it is likely.

- The disparity between hope and expectation is particularly marked among younger age groups - fewer than half of those aged 18-24 who want to be home-owners in ten years think it likely that they actually will be.

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