The HomeOwner Survey 2018 - Issue, trends and how we feel about our homes

4 Introduction Every year we undertake a nationwide survey to find out how people feel about their most obsessed about possession – their homes. Our Homeowner Survey 2018, now in its sixth year and polled by YouGov, gives a state of the nation report on the biggest concerns and latest trends affecting homeowners and those who are keen to own. This year’s report looks at people’s experiences and interactions with in the housing market, and in particular how the housing ladder is functioning – getting on, moving up and moving down the ladder. We found that millions are failing to realise their dream of homeownership or are stuck in houses that are unsuitable for their needs as a result of affordability issues and lack of properties , 7.5 million are locked out of homeownership, 1.2 million second-steppers want to move but cannot and 1 million older homeowners have nowhere to move to. We review how housing concerns have shifted . The shortage of homes and affordability problems have escalated and the housing crisis is deepening. UK adults are more concerned about property prices and availability today than at any point in the last five years. Today 83% of people say house prices are a serious problem (up from 77% five years ago) and 77% of UK adults now say availability of homes is a serious problem (up from 69% five years ago). In further evidence of the worsening crisis, the survey found the quality of homes is a growing issue with 57% of adults saying it is a serious problem up from 52% in 2014. The results reveal a worsening picture for those wanting to get a foot on the property ladder . Among aspiring first time buyers, the proportion saying house prices (86%) and saving for a deposit (87%) is a serious problem is up over the past year. These same factors top the list of housing issues for UK adults generally: the ability of first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder (86%), saving for a deposit (84%) and house prices (83%). The case for leasehold reform mounts as the leasehold/ freehold system is the fastest rising issue for 2 years running . Up 6% in 2017 and 8% in 2018, 56% of UK adults say the leasehold/ freehold system including service charges, ground rent and other fees is a serious problem. Against a backdrop of calls for reform to the home buying and selling process, we take a look, in particular, at the pressures homesellers face. Results reveal that more than 300,000 property transactions collapse every year due to broken chains and buyers changing their mind, costing affected sellers on average £2.7K with a total cost to sellers of £400 million . Earlier this year the Government announced a programme of work to improve the home buying and selling process to make it quicker, cheaper, less stressful, more certain, faster and less costly. To support this work, we asked homeowners and sellers what they thought of the proposals. The survey results fully support plans to professionalise the estate agent market through licensing of estate agents and the pilot of voluntary reservation agreements . 82% of UK adults support the idea of a government-backed license requiring estate agents to pass standardised tests before being able to practice. Nearly two thirds (65%) of UK adults support the idea of a reservation agreement requiring buyers and sellers to put down a non-refundable deposit to commit both sides earlier in the process and increase the certainty that the sale will go through and at the price agreed. Additionally, 80% of UK adults are in favour of buyers being required to prove they have the necessary funds before putting in an offer to buy a property.