Seven in ten of Britons think there is a national housing crisis, while opposition to local home-building has cooled

Exclusive polling for the New Statesman shows most Britons believe there is currently a housing crisis in Britain while half support more homes being built in their area

The author(s)

  • Ben Marshall Public Affairs
  • Charlotte Albiston Research Exective
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  • 7 in 10 Britons think there is a national housing crisis, 49% that there is a local one
  • National crisis felt as strongly among owner-occupiers as renters
  • Half of Britons think there is not enough affordable housing available locally
  • 49% would support more homes being built in their area 
  • Support would increase if homes were affordable and designs appropriate 
  • 51% think political parties do not pay a lot of attention to housing problems

New research by Ipsos shows that seven in ten (69%) agree that there is a housing crisis in Britain. Those who perceive a local crisis has increased from 39% in 2020 to 49%, with the same percentage (49%) now supporting more homes being built in their area. 

The perception of a national crisis is felt strongly and consistently across various demographics, including renters and owner-occupiers. There is, though, a wider difference in opinion in terms of the existence of a local crisis; renters more likely to perceive this (56%) than owner-occupiers (45%). Those who voted Conservative at the 2019 General Election were less likely to perceive a local crisis but 40% did recognise a local housing crisis. 

Half of Britons (50%) believe there is not enough affordable housing available in their local area and over three-quarters (76%) agree that young people will struggle to get the right kind of housing despite working hard and getting a good job. Young people aged 16-24 are more optimistic with only six in ten (63%) agreeing. 

Renters remain pessimistic about their ability to buy in the future as six in ten (62%) think they will never be able to afford a home. However, only four in ten (45%) believe getting on the property ladder is important for getting on in life, compared to two-thirds (67%) of owner-occupiers. 

Perceptions of a housing crisis has remained consistent over recent years, however, there has been a noticeable decline in opposition towards local housebuilding. Only 22% now oppose more local housebuilding, compared to 27% in 2020. Support is also conditional; the survey shows that it increases if homes are affordable and designed to look right in relation to their surroundings. 

Support for local housebuilding is highest amongst renters with 58% supporting more housebuilding, compared to 43% of owner-occupiers. A considerably higher proportion of Conservative voters are against with a third (33%) opposing this.  There are also regional disparities as support is relatively low, and opposition high, in the North East and South East of England, and in Wales. 

While Britons think there is a national housing crisis and a lack of affordable homes in the UK, only 19% think that political parties pay a lot of attention to housing problems. This is consistently felt among all voters. 

Over a half (55%) agree that unless more homes are built in Britain, the country’s housing problems will never be solved. Britons also prefer housebuilding to housing policies that encourage downsizing; over half (58%) disagree that older people in larger homes should be required to sell their properties to people who need them more. 

Coverage of this survey can be found in the New Statesman’s State of the Nation

Technical note:

  • 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. 
     

The author(s)

  • Ben Marshall Public Affairs
  • Charlotte Albiston Research Exective

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