Britons support rent controls and extending the Right to Buy scheme, but also expect further house price rises and too little new housing
What do Britons perceive as the biggest problems with housing in the country and what measures do they support to try to fix them?
- 72% of Britons support introducing rent controls in England
- 65% are in favour of giving powers to local councils to increase council tax on second and empty homes
- 56% support extending the Right to Buy scheme
- More than a third say the lack of affordable homes and house prices that are too high are the biggest housing problems facing Britain today
- 69% expect Britain’s house prices to be higher in 12 months’ time, 66% say the same for their local area
- Only 18% think an increase in house prices would be good for Britain - 34% think a rise would be good for them personally)
- Just 26% are confident that the UK will build enough affordable new homes in the next few years, 67% are not confident
New research by Ipsos shows most Britons expect house prices in their local area will be higher in 12 months’ time, and a similar proportion expect an increase in the average across Britain. Around a quarter expect prices to rise a lot.
Two-thirds (66%) believe average house prices will increase in their local area while 69% say the same for the country’s average. Those in the East of England (76%), South of England (70%), West Midlands (66%) and Scotland (66%) are most likely to expect prices to rise.
Reflecting an expectation that prices will rise, people are more likely to consider the next 12 months to be a good time to sell a property (59%) than buy one (35%).
Are rising house prices a good or bad thing?
People are much less sure that rising housing prices are a good thing for Britain than they are them personally – 18% think increases are good for Britain, compared to 30% who think they are good for them personally. Four in 10 (41%) owner-occupiers agree that rising house prices are good for them personally (only 24% disagree), while 58% of renters say it is not good for them.
What do people think matters?
Britons are most likely to identify the lack of affordable homes and high house prices as among the biggest problems with housing in Britain today – both are identified by 36%. Around 3 in 10 say the lack of social housing is a key problem (29%) while 28% say rents are too high.
Least likely to be considered a big problem with housing is planning restrictions making it too hard to build more homes (4%), public opposition to building new homes (5%) and big homes being occupied by one or two people (6%).
What can be done?
Most Britons disagree with the statement “there isn’t much that British governments can do to deal with the country’s housing problems”, 61% disagree while only 17% agree. Similarly, 54% disagree that “there isn’t much that British governments can do to deal with the country’s housing market” (19% agree). Only a quarter of people (26%) are confident that the UK will build enough affordable new homes in the next few years, up from 17% in 2016.
At the 2019 General Election, Ipsos found support for a range of housing policies contained in party manifestoes. As was the case then, most Britons are in favour of Labour’s 2019 manifesto policy to introduce rent controls in England, so that rents in the private sector do not rise by more than the inflation rate. Just over seven in ten, 72%, support this idea, with only 7% in opposition.
Around two-thirds (65%) are in favour of the Lib Dems’ 2019 policy to tackle second homes by giving powers to local councils to increase council tax on second homes and homes that are left empty for more than six months.
More than half (56%) are supportive of the policy to extend the Right to Buy (a scheme in which tenants renting from councils are able to purchase their homes at a discount price) to those who rent from housing associations. Support has increased by 10 percentage points since the 2019 General Election.
Labour’s policy to build 100,000 council homes and 50,000 housing association properties a year in England for the next 5 years is supported by 53% of Britons while 14% oppose.
Ben Marshall, Research Director at Ipsos, said:
It is a sign of the pessimism surrounding housing in Britain that people expect things to get worse in terms of the two features of the housing crisis they consider to be the most important – rising house prices and building enough affordable homes.
It is not that they see Governments as unable to do anything about housing; there continues to be a strong sense of ‘do something’ and ongoing support for different policy responses. The extension of Right to Buy receives majority support but so too do rent controls and giving local government more powers to tackle second and empty homes.
- Ipsos UK surveyed 2,161 adults aged 16-75 in Great Britain between 6-10 May 2022 on the online Omnibus platform. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.