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Potential sellers 'left with nowhere to go' due to fragmented housing market

The government is being urged to tailor its housing market reforms beyond solely focusing on first-time buyers.

It comes as new analysis shows homeowners and buyers at all stages of the property ladder are being forced to compromise due to a lack of property stock on sale.

A report by Yorkshire Building Society has found that two thirds of Britons (59%) feel trapped in property that doesn’t meet their needs, but have nowhere to go.


This is blamed on insufficient suitable housing, the cost of moving and properties being too expensive in their desired area.

Almost a quarter (23%) of downsizers point to the lack of suitable or available supply as their biggest barriers to moving, according to the Housing Britain report.

This attitude, the report warns, is restricting the availability of larger properties – in demand by second and third-steppers – from being freed up to those further down the housing ladder.

As a result, the majority of homebuyers across the board (60%) claim there isn’t enough suitable housing in their local area.

Nitesh Patel, economist at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Demand for housing has far outstripped supply for years, but it’s not just the quantity of houses we’re lacking, but the type and suitability of properties coming to market – be that new, or existing homes.

“Buyer needs and priorities change as people move onto and up the housing ladder, but there’s a significant number of properties, particularly larger family homes, currently occupied by trapped downsizers. 

“These homes could be freed up if those in them felt there was suitable accommodation to move to in their local area.

"Looking at the statistics, however, we can see that in the last five years bungalows, for example, have made up around just 1.5% of new homes registered. A continuation of this trend will only fuel the current situation, not help it.”

Ben Merritt, director of mortgages at Yorkshire Building Society, added that while the government’s overall housing reforms focus remains predominantly on first time buyers, attention is actually needed at all stages of homeownership.

He said: “Whatever a person’s age or their position on the ladder, they all deserve a greater level of support. 

“A third of respondents thought more homes should be built to suit people’s needs at all stages of their lives. This is a bigger picture issue and it’s vital the public’s frustrations – those living through these challenges – are understood and taken seriously by government.”

With three quarters (75%) of home buyers fearing homeownership is being pushed out of reach, those surveyed argue that the government is responsible for fixing the housing crisis, and could start by scrapping stamp duty. 

Two-in-five (41%) suggest a permanent removal of the tax could address some of the issues by easing the financial burden, while a third (35%) said more homes for all stages of life should be built. 

Similarly, a third (32%), say the government should provide more financial support to all stages of the housing market, not just first-time buyers.


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