A similar number of Britons, 60 per cent, also claimed there was not enough suitable housing in their local area to move to, even if they wanted to, which was forcing owners and buyers to compromise, according to the YBS report Housing Britain.
YBS’s report surveyed 1,750 UK adults to understand the public’s feelings and attitudes towards homeownership at every stage of the property ladder – from first-time buyers, to second and third steppers, to downsizers.
The mutual which has assets of £52.7bn and nearly three million customers also owns Chelsea Building Society and Norwich and Peterborough Building Society and its subsidiary companies include Accord Mortgages.
The report found insufficient affordable homes, the cost of moving and a lack of supply were the main barriers to moving onto or up the property ladder. Three quarters of those who took part in the survey, 75 per cent, said they felt homeownership was out of reach for many.
Almost a quarter, 23 per cent, of downsizers – those looking to move into smaller properties in later life – said the lack of suitable or available supply were their biggest barriers to moving.
This was in turn restricting the availability of larger properties – in demand by second and third-steppers – from being freed up to those further down the housing ladder.
More bungalows needed
Nitesh Patel, economist at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Demand for housing has far outstripped supply for years, but it’s not just the quantity of houses we’re lacking, but the type and suitability of properties coming to market – be that new, or existing homes.
“Buyer needs and priorities change as people move onto and up the housing ladder, but there’s a significant number of properties, particularly larger family homes, currently occupied by trapped downsizers. These homes could be freed up if those in them felt there was suitable accommodation to move to in their local area. Looking at the statistics, however, we can see that in the last five years bungalows, for example, have made up around just 1.5 per cent of new homes registered. A continuation of this trend will only fuel the current situation, not help it.”
According to Yorkshire’s research, one in four, 27 per cent, of first-time buyers said their main reason for homeownership was to get a foot on the ladder. However, a quarter, 27 per cent, said they would be willing to buy a smaller property, or move to a more affordable location, 23 per cent to achieve their dream of owning their own home.
Those on the middle steps of the property ladder, who were searching for larger properties and more outside space, were most likely to compromise by moving away from family and friends, to a more affordable location, with a longer or more difficult commute, or on size.
Downsizers were the most willing to settle for less outside space and fewer bedrooms in order to make their next home purchase.
Ben Merritt, director of mortgages at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “The current housing crisis has been years in the making so it’s sadly not surprising that many homeowners are left without any choice but to compromise on their dreams.
“The cost of living is already high, and as property market values skyrocket, people at all stages of homeownership will struggle to find an affordable property that meets their needs. First-time buyers are often priced out altogether, while downsizers face a housing supply so limited that for those who want to move, there is quite simply nowhere suitable for them to go, leaving second and third steppers at a loss when it comes to finding and buying a suitable, available home.
“The Prime Minister’s recent speech showed that the government is conscious of some of the barriers to homeownership identified by our report – including the difficulty for many of saving for a deposit. Whilst the pledge to build more of the ‘right homes in the right places’ is welcome, the government’s overall focus remains predominantly on first time buyers, whereas our report shows attention is actually needed at all stages of homeownership.
“Whatever a person’s age or their position on the ladder, they all deserve a greater level of support. A third of respondents thought more homes should be built to suit people’s needs at all stages of their lives. This is a bigger picture issue and it’s vital that the public’s frustrations – those living through these challenges – are understood and taken seriously by the government.”
Two-in-five, 41 per cent, said they believed the government need to permanently scrap stamp duty, while a third, 35 per cent, said more homes for all stages of life should be built, and 32 per cent said the government should provide more financial support to all stages of the housing market, not just first-time buyers.