Sunday, 24 October 2021

‘We’d need a lottery win to move house’

A THIRD of Britons say they would need a lottery win to move house, suggesting affordability is the biggest problem facing prospective home buyers.

When it comes to what is preventing sales, earnings (31 per cent), deposits (28 per cent) and mortgage availability (24 per cent) are seen as the major barriers to getting on the property ladder.

At the same time, average house prices have risen by £31,000 in the past 12 months according to the Office for National Statistics — more than double the highest possible saving from the 2020-21 stamp duty holiday.

A survey carried out by price comparison website Money.co.uk shows that Brits feel Government support schemes such as Help to Buy are not fit for purpose, with 41 per cent of respondents saying they wouldn’t seek help from the state in buying a property.

When Money.co.uk asked prospective homeowners what would make them consider moving earlier, the most common answers were a fall in house prices or a pay rise at work.

But among those who ticked “other” on the list of factors that would enable them to move, 29 per cent said it would take a lottery win or a cash windfall to do the trick, with more than seven per cent saying an inheritance could make all the difference.

One person said their wife leaving would get them to move house sooner, while another said that being reunited with their spouse after living apart due to coronavirus would prompt a new buy.

The suitability or otherwise of properties was also something lots of people flagged up, with 20 per cent saying that finding the perfect property, being able to downsize, or being able to relocate would be critical factors.

Having someone to buy with also featured, as did the end of covid.

One person even said they would move earlier if they could tidy up their current home to get it on the market.

Other factors that were cited included a new job or retirement (22 per cent), tax breaks such as the stamp duty holiday (19 per cent), working from home (19 per cent), having more children (11 per cent) and children moving out of the family home (eight per cent).

But more than one in 10 (12 per cent) of people said that nothing at all would make them consider moving any earlier.

A spokesman for Money.co.uk said: “The popularity of lottery wins as a solution suggests that affordability is a real problem for the UK’s home buyers. But when we looked at people’s purchasing power, on average they wanted to spend £297,447 on their next home.

“Given the average house price in the UK stands at £268,000, that suggests that properties do exist at the price points people need.

“First-time buyers wanted to spend £254,205, while those moving up the ladder were prepared to spend £355,494 on average.

“We also asked people how many homes were available within their budgets in their desired areas.

“Most said there was medium availability (48 per cent), while less than a third said there was low availability and one in 10 said there was high availability.

“So clearly properties within the desired budget range exist.

“The problem may stem from the type of properties available at these lower price points when compared with what people are actually looking for.

“Some 44 per cent of people are determined to have an existing home, compared with just 28 per cent who actively want a new build and 28 per cent who have no preference either way.

“In terms of the facilities that potential buyers are looking for, the survey showed that 44 per cent of respondents want a garden or outside space, a feature which tends to push prices up significantly.

“As well as gardens, 33 per cent of people wanted private parking and 43 per cent wanted their own garage, both of which are rare and expensive commodities.

“A further 28 per cent wanted security, such as a concierge or a lockable gate, and one in four wanted wooden floors.

“Another factor that might be driving unaffordability is the local amenities people desire.

“Among our buyers, local shops were a core concern (34 per cent), as were local parks (32 per cent), good transport links (30 per cent) and low crime (30 per cent).

“All of these are fairly common requirements for a home, but it suggests that people aren’t able to find homes that tick all their boxes and are also within budget.

“This was all backed up when we asked people about the biggest barriers they face.

“Common responses included not being able to afford a property they actually liked or wanted, too much demand for the properties they were interested in, and the added costs of conveyancers, solicitors and stamp duty payments.”

Property