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'The UK is a two tier society of property haves and have nots'

13 October 2014

New research shows why British house-hunters feel increasingly disenfranchised by the lack of affordable housing.

The latest official figures show that population growth in the UK has exceeded 400,000, and with only 134,460 new properties completed over the same one-year period there aren't enough new homes being built to meet that demand, let alone tackle the backlog of years of underdevelopment. Against this backdrop, research from Gocompare.com Mortgages has revealed the effect that the lack of affordable housing is having on people's attitudes to homeownership.

Interactive graphic comparing new homes built versus population growth in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole:

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The lack of affordable housing in the UK has resulted in people taking a dim-view of their prospects of getting onto the property ladder. Gocompare.com's survey of 2,000 UK adults who are looking to buy a home found that:

  • 26% feel that 'the UK is becoming a two-tier society of property haves and have nots'
  • 23% said 'I expect I will only be able to buy a home if I buy with someone else'
  • Though 18% say that the government is responsible for the shortage of affordable homes, 14% think that buy-to-let landlords are to blame
  • 17% don't think that they will ever own their own home
  • 12% said that 'it angers me that I can't afford to buy a house in the neighbourhood where I grew up'
  • And 10% think that the only way they'll end up owning a property is if they're left one in a will!

It also appears that people could be forced to move around the country to put down roots. Over a quarter (29%) of would-be homebuyers said that they'd have to stretch themselves financially or borrow money from friends or family to find properties in the areas where they want to live. As such a fifth (20%) say that they have had to expand their search to towns and cities outside of their preferred area, while 14% have come to the realisation that if they want to live in their chosen region they'll have to rent. And 6% are so fed up that they have completely given up looking for a home to buy.

Those surveyed said they would consider moving, on average, up to 26 miles away from their preferred location to find an affordable home. Over a fifth (21%) would expand their search to between 26 and 50 miles, while 5% would look for housing more than 101 miles away.

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Matt Sanders, spokesperson for Gocompare.com Mortgages, said: "It's easy to see why people feel so frustrated with the UK's housing market. Not only are there not enough houses being built, but people face having to move away from their friends, families and hometowns if they want to buy a home of their own.

"It's clear that the government needs to do more to help address the lack of affordable housing if people are to take part in that most British of pursuits - owning a home. Everyone has a right to buy, but not everyone has the ability to do so. Schemes like Help to Buy have been successful, but this won't be sustainable if the issue of property availability isn't also tackled.

"While policymakers must flesh out plans to increase the UK's housing stock, anyone who is looking to buy a home should seek impartial advice from a mortgage broker to find out what they could realistically borrow, and how their budget would affect the types of properties that they could consider buying."

If you're struggling to get to grips with savings, Gocompare.com has put together a savings FAQ on its website.

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Notes to editors:

Research was conducted online by OnePoll between 12th and 18th August 2014 with 2,000 adults who are looking/would consider buying a home.

* From mid-2012 to mid-2013 the population of the UK grew by 400,624, but only 134,460 dwellings were completed in the same period. Sources: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-house-building, http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Population#tab-data-tables, http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/family-demography/familie-and-households/2013/stb-families.html#tab-Household-size