23 Jul 2021

Difficult journey to home ownership exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic

  • 63 per cent of people say the UK has a housing crisis, rising to 71 per cent of private renters
  • A quarter of renters say pandemic has made it less likely they will be able to buy their own home
  • 68 per cent of renters don’t think they will ever be able to afford a home to buy
  • 57 per cent of households are now homeowners, down from 64 per cent in 2003
  • Nationwide & Ipsos MORI research forms part of comprehensive ‘Future of Home’ report launching on Monday

Covid-19 has brought a sharp focus on the UK’s housing needs as four in ten private renters (42%) say their experience of the pandemic has made owning their own home more important than it was 18 months ago.

However, for many people Covid has made the journey to home ownership much harder. Affordability remains a significant barrier for many, with 41 per cent of renters saying getting a deposit together and meeting other upfront purchase costs make buying their own home unaffordable.

The findings are part of extensive research conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Nationwide into attitudes regarding home and housing post-pandemic. The full report – The Future of Home – will be released on Monday 26 July and will cover the UK’s views on a range of housing-related topics including home ownership, renting, the shortage of skilled building professionals and the greening of homes.

Research by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that Britons spend the joint highest of any other nation on housing, with more than a quarter (26%) of disposable income being spent on the cost of a home on average. This rises rapidly for those in lower earning roles, including carers, labourers and couriers, where mortgage or rental payments swallow over 40 per cent of take-home pay. Data from Nationwide shows that currently the average first-time buyer property costs 5.6 times the average income compared to the long run average of 3.2 – a figure that hasn’t been true for around 20 years.

The Future of Home report also looks at the differences in people’s view on housing by generations, with some stark differences emerging between age groups and across regions.

Sara Bennison, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Our research and cross-industry conversations show that the pandemic has served to exacerbate long-standing issues in the housing market. Layer onto that the enormous challenge of making the UK’s homes net zero and the challenge ahead becomes even greater. The need for more homes, more affordable homes and more sustainable homes are some of the critical questions we address in the Future of Home Report which is launched on Monday.”

Notes to editors

The Future of Home report follows Nationwide’s consideration of the UK’s working environment in its March report into the Future of Work.

1 Technical note: Ipsos MORI conducted online interviews with 2,985 people aged 16-75 living in the UK between 18 and 21 June 2021. Data have been weighted to the known profile of the UK population. Further detail can be found on the Ipsos MORI website or by emailing michael.clemence@ipsos.com.