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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

High house prices and leasehold abuse are key worries for public - survey

Stubbornly high house prices and concerns over leasehold-related charges top the list of worries amongst the public about the housing market.

That’s the view of the HomeOwners’ Alliance, the consumer group which produced the some of the data behind this week’s Purplebricks statement about ‘savings’ made by sellers using online estate agencies.

HOA, in an annual survey, says 83 per cent of people believe high house prices are a ‘serious’ problem, up from 77 per cent four years ago. Meanwhile 77 per cent of respondents say availability of housing is now a major concern, up from 69 per cent in 2014.

The findings come in a YouGov poll of over 2000 UK adults conducted for the alliance.

London continues to be the area where concern over affordability and access to housing is highest: 90 per cent of those in London who were polled say house prices are a serious problem (up from 84 per cent in 2014).

Some 84 per cent of Londoner say availability of housing is a serious problem (up from 78 per cent in 2014) and 66 per cent say quality of housing is a serious problem (up from 56 per cent).

Respondents from the capital also complained about stamp duty rates, the leasehold/ freehold system, the home buying and selling process and gazumping.

The research also found that leasehold concerns over service charges and related complaints formed the fastest growing housing issue for the second year running with 56 per cent of respondents citing it as a serious concern.

With additional stamp duty reforms introduced this year to assist first-time buyers, concern with stamp duty has subsided over the past year. The proportion who say getting a mortgage or remortgaging is a problem is also down. 

However, among aspiring first-time buyers, 89 per cent say the ability to get on the property ladder is a serious problem because of an absence of affordable homes and the need for a relatively high deposit. 

“The housing sector in the UK is on its knees. There’s a shortage of building, a constant stream of stories surrounding poor quality and unfair deals for homeowners, a lack of social housing, rising homelessness and a leasehold system that is dangerously broken. People are just as keen as in previous years to own a home but the system is failing them” claims HOA chief executive Paula Higgins.

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