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Job insecurity is the biggest barrier to home ownership for the first time in a decade

Building Societies Association

3 min read

Buyers state job insecurity as the biggest barrier to home ownership (65%) compared to 35% in March 2020), overtaking ‘raising a deposit’ (40%) for the first time in 10 years.

Results also show that house price expectations have fallen into negative territory. Almost half (45%) think that house prices will fall in the next 12 months and just 16% think they will rise.

More positively, around half (57%) of homebuyers and 52% of sellers who were active before the pandemic will return to the housing market within 6 months, or did not leave the market during the lockdown period.

Similarly, over a third (34%) of buyers have already restarted their property buying process or will do so within the next month. Nearly one in three (29%) of sellers will put their property on the market within one month or have kept it on the market throughout the lockdown period.

Only 5% of sellers have decided not to put their property on the market due to the Coronavirus outbreak, and 11% of buyers have decided to no longer look to buy a property in the next two years.

When asked what would instil confidence in the UK housing market, safety and security led the responses; namely ‘evidence that properties can be viewed in a safe manner’ (36%) and ‘increased job security’ (35%).

 Paul Broadhead, BSA Head of Mortgages and Housing comments:

“It is unsurprising that confidence in the housing market has waned in the current climate. Covid-19 has impacted every facet of our lives, and the housing market is not immune.

That said, we are only just getting past the peak of the crisis, and there are already some very positive moves being made both by Government and by lenders to get the housing market moving again. These measures include implementing virtual valuations, extending mortgage offers and safely resuming property viewings – which these figures highlight as a key concern among consumers.

These results mark the first time that ‘raising a deposit’ hasn’t been the biggest barrier to home ownership in a decade. Many households have increased their cash savings during lockdown. If they grow more secure about their job prospects, this may enable buyers to put a little more towards a deposit, and if prices do moderate somewhat, it could help with affordability issues - especially for first-time buyers. Once the market settles back into some form of normality and confidence in job security rebuilds, we could see a fresh landscape that appeals to aspiring homeowners.

The market must keep moving. New build production will be considerably reduced with streamlined workforces returning to sites following a period of inactivity. If people also delay selling their existing properties, another flow of housing stock will be effectively blocked.  However, it is good to see some intent to return to the market from consumers. Our sector will continue to support buyers and sellers in adapting to the new housing market norms and keep the market fluid.”

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