Modern Masonry, the representative body for the UK masonry industry, has launched a specially commissioned report: A Dream Home: An Exploration of Aspirations.
A national sample of 2,000 adults was surveyed to give an insight into what UK buyers and renters think. With homeownership at a 30-year low, Modern Masonry believes that a lack of new-builds, high property prices, stamp duty and years of government inaction have all had an impact on the nation’s residential prospects.
When asked to describe the most important attributes that make up the basis of the ideal home, aesthetic qualities were of the least importance while performance issues such as energy efficiency and sound insulation scored well above 80% across the board. The majority of people polled aspire to live in a detached house (33%) in suburbia (64%). As the report reveals, modest aspirations also correlate with low expectations of homeownership.
Respondents were vocal about the negative occurrences that scared them the most. In particular, factors such as burglaries, break-ins and bad neighbours scored high (66%) on the list of potential worries. For renters, damp caused major distress with nearly half of those polled (44%) highlighting this as a concern.
The research also found a nation facing housebuilding stagnation. Three-quarters of those polled live in houses with two-thirds of these classifying themselves as homeowners. Nearly half of these live in a home over 40 years old. Less than 10% live in a house a decade old, and only a fifth live in a house under 20 years old.
Commenting on the findings, Andrew Minson, Director of Modern Masonry, said: “These findings show a distinct lack of awareness about how government policy is going to increase stock and simultaneously offer quality, value-for-money houses. People understandably want to live in a robust, quiet home that’s cheap to run, providing sanctuary and a place to raise their family. It is striking that in a media-saturated world of Grand Designs, people still aspire to a modest house. Expectations may not be high, but are they even achievable?”
Even though most people tend to want to live in a detached home, a quarter of the respondents stated they would never be in a position to buy. Figures for those currently in the process of looking to move were low too. Only 14% highlighted they plan on moving within the next year and just under a quarter in the next two to five years.
Most people (66%) considered good security as an essential requirement for an ideal home. Disasters were a concern for a quarter (23%), who indicated fire damage, flooring subsistence and structural collapse as constant worries.
Poor clarity over government housing policy amidst almost half of respondents (48%) as well as a similar lack of information on flagship schemes such as Help to Buy (44%) all indicate a deficit of public information. This is emphasised by a quarter (27%) highlighting that current efforts have not met their housing needs, leaving them powerless to get a foothold on the property ladder.