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Confidence in the housing market rebounds – concerns about stamp duty and negative equity fade away

Every year our nationwide survey asks how people feel about their most obsessed about possession – their homes. The Homeowners Survey 2015, polled by YouGov, gives a state of the nation report on the biggest concerns and latest trends affecting homeowners and those aspiring to own. Here are the results.

An overview: Public confidence is bouncing back

Public confidence in the housing market is bouncing back, according to the 2015 Homeowner Survey, conducted by the HomeOwners Alliance, myhomemove and BLP Insurance. People’s concerns about housing have receded ‘across the board’ over the last year. Most dramatically, the numbers saying that negative equity is a problem has slumped in the last 12 months by more than 10%. Concerns about stamp duty rates have seen a near identical drop.

The proportion of adults who say stamp duty is a serious problem has dropped from 64% in 2014 to 51% in 2015. In the wake of the government’s reforms of the system last year, one third say they feel the recent changes to stamp duty have made it more affordable for them to buy their first home or to move up the property ladder. The HomeOwners Alliance campaigned strongly for reform of the stamp duty system, and welcomed the reduction in rates at the lower end of the housing market and abolition of the hated “slab” system.

Concerns about estate agent fees, conveyancers’ fees and being able to pay off the mortgage have all eased over the past year. Yet the ability for aspiring first-time buyers to get on the property ladder continues to be a top housing concern with 83% of UK adults saying it is a serious problem.  Among those aspiring to get on the ladder, house prices, saving for a deposit, the ability to get a mortgage/remortgage and quality of housing are rated as more significant issues than among UK adults generally.


UK Housing Concerns

Top housing concerns 2015

This graph shows that:

  • Ability for aspiring first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder (83% saying it is a serious problem) and saving for a deposit (83%) top the list of housing concerns nationally, followed by house prices (76%) and the ability to get a mortgage (72%).  See figure 1 below
  • The proportion of adults who say negative equity is a serious problem has dropped down to 49% from 64% last year; after a steady increase in house prices. Negative equity continues to be a key concern in Northern Ireland, with 68% saying it is a serious problem.
  • Housing anxiety overall has subsided, with UK adults saying they are less concerned than last year across the board, including property/solicitor fees, and the quality of housing.
  • Nearly half of adults (49%) say gazumping is a serious issue, while 43% say gazundering is a serious issue. 51% of adults believe that the homebuying/selling process in this country is a serious issue

Trend data: housing concerns in 2015 vs 2014

2014 vs 2015 trend data


  • Concern over stamp duty rates has also fallen sharply (64% in 2014 to 51% in 2015), with 1 in 3 saying that the recent changes to stamp duty have made it more affordable for them to buy their first home or move up the property ladder.

impact of changes in stamp duty


Comparing Housing Concerns of Aspiring Homeowners and UK Adults

aspiring vs UK adults housing concerns

  • Aspiration to own your own home has edged up slightly, with 69% wanting to own, compared to 68% last year and 65% in January 2013.
  • Aspiring homeowners are significantly more concerned than UK adults, with house prices (84% vs 76%) and the quality of housing (57% vs 49%).

Regional Concerns

Regional look at housing concerns 2015

This graph shows that:


  • Regionally, concern about high house prices continues to be greater in London than in other regions. (60% of Londoners say house prices are a very serious problem compared with 40% in the UK generally).
  • The proportion saying house prices are a very serious problem in London has risen 5% in the past year. Those living in Northern Ireland and the North East are more concerned with housing availability and negative equity than elsewhere in the UK.
  • The leasehold and freehold system is causing widespread concern across the UK, with 42% of adults saying it is a serious problem. In London, East Midlands and East of England, around half of people say it is a serious problem.


Paula Higgins, the chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, says:

“It is very encouraging that concerns about stamp duty and negative equity have fallen so sharply over the last year. But 83% of us continue to worry about prospects for first time buyers.

Recent announcements about building new homes and Help to Buy ISAs are all welcome offers from politicians vying for our votes.

But in a UK with low wage growth, high house prices, and the current lending criteria constraining aspirations to buy a home, we still have a long way to go to turn around the decline in homeownership. Every year the number of aspiring homeowners grows – while the rate of quality housing being built in the right place at the right price falls well short.

The housing market is still unstable and homeowners face very serious problems on a number of fronts. As well as extremely high levels of concern about house prices, our homeowner survey shows significant concerns over a shortage of housing, saving for a deposit, and getting mortgages, particularly amongst those trying to buy their first home. On top of that, homeowners have serious problems with gazumping, leasehold issues, poor quality of housing and the whole house-buying and selling process. Owning a home is one of the most important things in people’s lives, and it is ridiculous that it is fraught with so many serious problems.”

Doug Crawford, CEO of myhomemove says:

“The reduced level of concern over Stamp Duty is welcome news to many within the property market.  Our clients would have saved £51 million if the reforms had been introduced two years early – the reason why we have been lobbying for change.

Our data shows an increasing number of buyers are purchasing properties above £250,000 since the new Stamp Duty system was introduced. Under the old ‘slab’ system, the significant increase in Stamp Duty payable on properties above this amount acted as a barrier for buyers looking to move up the property ladder. The new system allows buyers to own properties that would have previously been unobtainable due to the substantial cost of Stamp Duty before the changes came into force.”


Wayne Tonge, Head of Sales, BLP Insurance, says:

“As confidence in the housing market makes a welcome return homeowners must keep their feet on the ground. When the market recovers and the money starts to flow, standards will potentially drop and aspiring homeowners should be taking steps to protect one of the largest investments they are ever likely to make.”


Notes to Editor

2015 Homeowner Survey

1. All figures in the 2015 Homeowner Survey, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. In 2015, total sample size was 2,214 adults of which1,390 were Homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken 4-5th March 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

2. The Stamp duty question was asked to the political You Gov panel. Total sample size was 2,184 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th – 9th March 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

3. We reported last week the difficulty of getting a mortgage/remortgage as a big housing concerns amongst UK adults, with more than 7 out of 10 saying it is a serious problem.

4. The 2015 Homeowner survey was made possible through sponsorship by BLP Insurance, leading provider of housing warranty insurance, myhomemove, the UK’s leading conveyancing provider and TrustMark, the Government endorsed ‘find a tradesman’ scheme.

5. When quoting this Press Release please link to the HOA website at and the myhomemove website at and the BLP website at
For media enquiries about HomeOwners Alliance, please contact:

Paula Higgins on or 07947 240 293, or 020 3397 3292


For media enquiries about myhomemove, please contact:

Jade O’Gara, Head of Marketing at myhomemove,, 07980 734 757

Rebecca Brown, Marketing Copywriter at myhomemove,, 01162405565


For media enquiries about BLP Insurance, please contact:

Broadgate Mainland, Lianne Robinson, Cara Penkethman and Henry Adams on 020 7726 6111 or


About the HomeOwners Alliance

The HomeOwners Alliance champions the interests of Britain’s homeowners and aspiring homeowners. We are a consumer group providing helpful advice and services and acting as the voice of the homeowner in the media, lobbying for their interests in government, and campaigning against bad practices in industry.

We directly engage with government and media by conducting independent research and publishing reports that champion the interests of homeowners.  In addition to our annual Homeowner Survey, previous publications include:

We believe we are Britain’s most popular and fastest growing property advice website, staying true to our mission to help homeowners facing some of the biggest and most complex decisions of their lives. Last year, more than 1.5 million homeowners and aspiring homeowners visited our website,, viewing over 2.5 million pages.

At, we provide independent advice for the key moments in owning a home, supported by legal and industry experts. Get our free newsletter with a market-wide view of house prices and all the latest tips on buying, selling, improving and managing homes. On our website you can find free independent guides, checklists and top tips.


About myhomemove

Specialising in the residential sector, myhomemove offers straight-forward, innovative solutions for conveyancing. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Premier Property Lawyers (the UK’s first ABS law firm and the largest provider of mover conveyancing services), myhomemove helped over 40,000 buy and sell their properties in 2014.

The use of advanced technology ensures that the process of moving home is managed accurately and at an affordable cost. myhomemove is dedicated to providing a superior level of service, with a focus on speed and professionalism.

Through its position as the market leader, and having completed cases in all 109 postcode areas in England and Wales, myhomemove holds data that covers the breadth of the industry, giving it a unique insight into the UK’s property market.


About BLP Insurance

BLP Insurance offers housing warranty insurance and commercial development latent defects insurance underwritten by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE. Our insurance is a compelling alternative to the ‘traditional’ 10 year new home warranty solutions and our commercial latent defects insurance product is the most comprehensive in the market. Unlike traditional new homes warranties, BLP’s insurance covers the building – not the developer – and does not ask developers to pay up front registration fees, ongoing membership fees, bonds, guarantees or deposits. For claims, only proof of damage is required not proof of liability. BLP’s cover is approved by all of the major British mortgage lenders.


We provide peace of mind for homeowners and protect their investment from the risk of undiscovered defects, because: our insurance policies are backed by an AA rated global insurer; we will have properly assessed the build project from design through to workmanship on site, to help minimise the chance of future defects; and if a defect does arise the homeowner won’t have to prove who is to blame, just that there is a defect.


We have been providing construction insurance since 1989, trading as BLP Insurance since 1999. We are owned by Thomas Miller, a world class insurance services business at the forefront of the insurance industry for over 125 years. BLP Insurance is regulated by the FCA.


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