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UK homes branded ‘not fit for purpose’

Written by: Joanna Faith
Britain's housing market is still broken, according to a new survey
UK homes branded ‘not fit for purpose’

32 million people think Britain’s homes are not “fit for purpose”, while the number of people concerned about the UK’s leasehold system has hit an all-time high.

A survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the HomeOwners Alliance, found the quality of Britain’s homes is the fastest growing issue.

Almost two thirds (63%) of UK adults now cite it as a serious concern, up 6% from 2018, while nearly seven in ten people (69%) living in rented accommodation reported serious concerns with housing stock quality.

The much-criticised leasehold system has been the fastest rising housing issue over the past five years. Three in five (60%) UK adults now say the leasehold/freehold system – including service charges, ground rent and other fees – is a serious problem. This is up from 42% in 2015.

More than a quarter (26%) of leaseholders complained about the high cost of works and management fees while just under a quarter objected to unfair service charges (22%) and a lack of control over which major works are done (23%).

These results follow a Select Committee report last week announcing a crackdown on the leasehold system, which is open to corruption, and the poor value for money it represents.

First-time buyer crisis

Meanwhile the crisis for first-time buyers has reached the largest recorded levels, according to the report.

More than nine in ten (91%) aspiring first-time buyers say the ability to get on the property ladder is a serious problem, while 88% say house prices and 87% say saving for a deposit are serious problems.

This comes against a backdrop of government initiatives, such as the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers and higher levels of lending for them.

Alex Depledge, CEO of, co-sponsor of the report, said: ‘Housebuilders keep churning out badly-built boxes. They prioritise profit rather than the living environment. This poorly-designed housing stock is having an increasingly profound effect on the nation’s mental health and productivity.”

Kim Vernau, CEO of BLP Insurance, another co-sponsor, said: “The results of this survey cast another dark shadow over a housing industry rife with systematic faults. The Government and the housebuilding industry have come under severe pressure to meet targets and boost housing volumes. This has resulted in a noticeable drop in both the practical design and build quality of new houses, as well as poorly thought through schemes, such Help-to-Buy.

“The government scheme has buoyed the residential sector, keeping prices artificially high, but cracks have started to appear, and its collapse could leave thousands of first time buyers stranded in negative equity.”

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