Survey reveals opposition to big housing developments in UK

Taylor Scott International News

With general agreement that a major uplift in new home building is crucial to resolution of the UK’s housing crisis, half of the population would oppose a major house building programme if it was in their immediate neighbourhood, a survey has found. Some 49% of Britons would be opposed to building more than 300 properties in their neighbourhood and 53% are anti-developments of 100 and 299 properties, according to the Property Tracker survey from the Building Societies Association (BSA). But when asked how much of the UK they believe should be ‘urban’, which is defined as housing, gardens, train lines and parks, nine out of 10 said more than 10% of the country should be developed when currently just 7% of the country is. The majority of Britons are only willing to support developments of one to 10 properties being built in their local area. Against that, the research also shows that Britons are increasingly open to the types of properties they want to live in and want greater diversity in the types of properties and tenures available to them. One in five people say they would be open to buying a shared ownership property, living in an off the shelf kit home, living in a converted retail or office space and even renting long term. And despite the fact that less than 10% of properties built in the UK are custom build, more than a third of Britons are open to building their own home. The research also shows that access to mortgage finance is now the single biggest barrier to owning a home among first time buyers, rising above raising a deposit for the first time since 2012. Now 57% of these buyers say that getting a mortgage is the most difficult hurdle to overcome, compared to 41% in June 2014 and 33% in September last year. Difficulty in accessing finance for home movers has been marginally less striking, rising from 42% in September 2013 to 51% in September 2014. Substantial press coverage around the changes to mortgage regulation implemented in April may be one of the reasons why first-time buyers are especially concerned about getting a mortgage. Recommendations from the Financial Policy Committee (FPC) to bring in a cap of 15% on the total number of mortgages available at or above 4.5 times a borrowers’ income may also have affected confidence, especially to those buying for the first time in London and the South East. ‘These consumer views results illustrate the major barrier that governments has to overcome when it comes to boosting housing supply in the UK. People are open to new developments and even different types of housing and tenure, but the message is clear: not in my backyard,’ said Paul Broadhead, head of Mortgage Policy at the BSA. ‘Local opposition is a major barrier to any government building its way out of the current housing crisis and is why we need the position of Housing Minister to be a full Cabinet position… Continue reading →

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