Britons open to new housing developments – just not in their own area

15th September 2014


Despite the UK’s severe housing shortage the majority of Britons would only back up to 10 new properties being built in their neighbourhood.

In fact while the nation is crying out for a serious boost in new home building, research from the Building Societies Association (BSA), found that half of the population would oppose a major development if it was in their immediate area.

The BSA’s Property Tracker survey concluded that a massive 49% would be opposed to building more than 300 properties in their locale and 53% are anti-developments of 100 and 299 properties.

But when asked how much of the UK they believe should be ‘urban’, which is defined as housing, gardens, train lines and parks, nine out of 10 said more than 10% of the country should be developed when currently just 7% of the country is.

However, the analysis also revealed that Britons are increasingly open to the types of properties they want to live in and want greater diversity in the types of homes and tenures available to them.

One in five people say they would be open to buying a shared ownership property, living in an off the shelf kit home, living in a converted retail or office space and even renting long term.

And despite the fact that less than 10% of properties built in the UK are custom build, more than a third of Britons are open to building their own home.

Mortgage gap

The BSA’s study also showed that access to mortgage finance is now the number one barrier when it comes to home ownership among first-time buyers – rising above raising a deposit for the first time since 2012.

Now 57% of these buyers say that getting a mortgage is the most difficult hurdle to overcome, compared to 41% in June 2014 and 33% in September last year. Difficulty in accessing finance for home-movers has been marginally less difficult, rising from 42% in 2013 to 51% in September 2014.

The changes to mortgage regulation, dubbed the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) introduced in April may be one of the reasons why first-time buyers are especially concerned about getting a mortgage. Recommendations from the Financial Policy Committee (FPC) to bring in a cap of 15% on the total number of mortgages available at or above 4.5 times a borrowers’ income may also have affected confidence – especially to those buying for the first time in London and the South East, said the BSA.

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the BSA, said: “These consumer views results illustrate the major barrier that Governments has to overcome when it comes to boosting housing supply in the UK. People are open to new developments and even different types of housing and tenure, but the message is clear: ‘not in my backyard’.

“Local opposition is a major barrier to any Government building its way out of the current housing crisis and is why we need the position of Housing Minister to be a full Cabinet position and not just a Minister of State role. The provision of housing and shelter is as essential to our country as Health, Education and Defence and that will only come from strong leadership within Government making tough decisions.

“We also need strong leadership to ensure that we have more of the types of properties that a growing portion of the country is crying out for like custom build, kit houses and shared ownership. A bigger and more diverse property market that provides a range of housing options for the UK’s 64 million inhabitants is the shortest route to remedying our current housing crisis.”

1 thought on “Britons open to new housing developments – just not in their own area”

  1. Noo 2 Economics says:

    Another approach would be some form of population and immigration policy to start shrinking the population, thereby taking the heat out of the demand in the housing market.

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