Owner-occupation is the clear tenure of choice for most Britons but they think politicians are not being honest about the prospects for people to own. These are among findings from new research by Ipsos MORI published today by the Chartered Institute of Housing.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI in advance of the EU Referendum vote and the CIH’s annual conference in Manchester, found 46% of the view that people have equal opportunities to get ahead in Britain, a drop of seven points since 2008.
79% agree that even if today’s young people work hard and get good jobs, they will have a hard time getting the right kind of housing while a majority, 57%, agree that getting on the property ladder is one of the most important ways of getting on in life (23% disagree).
The British agree that renting is an important part of the UK’s housing mix but over-estimate its size relative to owner-occupation – for example, on average, they think that local authorities and housing associations house 28% of adults, but the real figure is half that.
Given a free choice, 84% of British adults would choose to be an owner-occupier in five years’ time, including 68% who would like to be an owner. The same is true of 71% of private renters of whom only 35% expect to be buying on a mortgage or owning in five years’ time. Meanwhile, a quarter of current mortgage holders expect to be owners in 2021.
The public’s attachment to owner-occupation is also seen in a recognition by 51% that in Britain we are “too obsessed” with owning property. 63% say they would advise a newly-married couple with steady jobs to buy rather than rent even if it meant living in poorer quality accommodation. Among all age groups, only 15-24s are divided on the best course of action for the couple.
By aggregating personal tenure histories, the survey charts the growth of the private rented sector and outright ownership over the past 10 years. Based on what people expect to happen to their own tenure, ownership is set to rise further and private renting to shrink (counter to most forecasts) with social housing falling more gently.
Half, 51%, strongly agree that it will be harder for young people to get the housing they want in the future and a similar, 54%, strongly agree that politicians should be “more honest” about people’s prospects for owning property in Britain.