Today Nationwide launches its Future of Home report. Published just a week after restrictions were lifted, the Ipsos MORI research is a prelude to action – factoring in the views of multiple organisations who are passionate about housing. As the country recovers from the pandemic and looks towards a net-zero future, there is a real opportunity to shape the housing market for the better. Regardless of whether people own or rent, the concept of home is of vital importance. However, there are several prevailing forces that are continuing to make this harder than it should be, particularly for those who are worst off financially.
The Society’s report kickstarts a major intervention as Nationwide is joined by others across a range industries and sectors to come together and tackle the ongoing housing crisis. Aligned with the Society’s mutual heritage, this is about working together to solve the issues of our time. And in that respect, housing is just as relevant as it was in 1884, when Nationwide Building Society was founded.
Nationwide is announcing the creation of four actions groups that will look to establish ways of building more suitable homes for all, from the greening of existing properties and improving rental standards to enhancing the speed and process of construction. The hope is that the diversity and breadth of knowledge of those taking part will lead to real-world solutions and recommendations.
While the Society’s partners have shared invaluable insight on how to tackle some of the UK’s housing issues and build a sustainable future, many of the best ideas for change come from everyday people who have real life experience, so Nationwide is calling for members, experts and the wider public to give their views on what is broken in the housing market and what potential solutions there are by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The four action groups encompass:
1. New homes: Increasing the number of new homes built across all tenures, ensuring they meet the needs of first-time buyers, home movers and downsizers, and meeting high energy-efficiency standards.
The challenge: Around two million more households would own a home if UK had been able to maintain home ownership at 2003 peak (64%). Today, ownership is even further away due to Covid as buyers struggle to raise deposits. Smarter taxes and incentives could make the housing market work better for all. Responding to trends such as homeworking, multi-generational living and smaller households could also ease pressures on housing. More affordable housing is a must, but it needs to be balanced across all types of homeowners.
2. Green homes: Delivering practical solutions and policies to help people green their homes. Building awareness of the problem, closing the skills gap and making sure it’s fairly financed.
The challenge: Encouraging greater public-private sector collaboration to reach net zero, with consumer incentivisation and support at the heart of this. Fair and affordable green funding formula is urgently needed while the eco-complexity standing in the way of sustainable homes must be addressed. Currently, the average first time buyer property costs 5.2 times the average income compared to the long run average of 3.7 – a figure which hasn’t been true for 20 years.
3. Rental: Creating a private rented sector (PRS) that works for the mutual good of landlords and renters potentially including better access to justice, a national landlord register and reform of tenancy deposit.
The challenge: The inequalities between homeowners and renters that were magnified by Covid need to be addressed. Rental has grown significantly over the years - 64 per cent of households were homeowners in 2003 compared to just 57 per cent now. However, many renters face an uphill struggle to save for a deposit, with a typical first-time buyer property deposit equating to 56 per cent of the typical annual wage.
Beyond home ownership, more must be done to reform the PRS to deliver better availability and affordability. More options need to be made available for renters, such as more social housing.
4,Delivery: Speeding up the delivery of new homes by removing inefficiencies in the system, building trust between parties and adopting more agile approaches.
The challenge: The housebuilding process needs to be modernised to deliver the homes we need. At the centre of this is a need to create the modern skills and expertise required to build homes that are fit for the future and to develop supply chains that can handle volume and quality – from local to national firms. But even if the homes can be built, the UK sorely lacks the skilled labour to deliver them. According to the Federation of Master Builders, there were 3,000 fewer building apprenticeships started in the academic year 2020/21, with 20 per cent of practising builders in their 50s and 15 per cent in their 60s. Two thirds of SME builders report shortages of bricklayers. On the supply side, figures from UK Construction PMI highlight 90 per cent of UK construction companies reported price increases in materials and shortages and that supply delivery times have never been longer.
- Rental Experience
Rental Experience: Alexandra is 26 years old, and is renting a room in a house that she shares with her landlady. In this video we learn about her rental experience.
- Green Homes:
There is a lack of knowledge and action in green home investment. However, people are interested in sustainability and would like to greenify their homes more. Here, Alan, Ava, Catherine and Jenna share their stories.
- First-time Buyers:
First-time Buyers: Simran is 25 years old and is living with her parents while saving for her first home. This video is about her experience of being a first-time buyer.