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Half of voters think Government must work harder to push UK homebuilding

Half of voters think Government must work harder to push UK homebuilding
Vicky Hartley
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Vicky Hartley

Half of voters disagree with the statement that "there isn’t much Governments can do to encourage the building of new homes" in a survey trying to understand voter priorities, according to joint research by Zoopla and Ipsos.

A fifth strongly disagreed, suggesting the state could make a positive difference to housebuilding.

The main political party manifestos continue to target 300,000 or more homes per year in England, a level not reached for over 40 years, although on the rise.

In 2023, homebuilding – measured by net additions to supply – fell 65,000 homes short of the 300,000 mark.

On funding the required builds, just over two-fifths support the idea that increased Government borrowing should be harnessed. However, only 26% are willing to see taxes rise to pay for this.

The research also revealed that only a quarter of voters agree with the statement that “the political parties pay a lot of attention to housing”.

After housebuilding, the survey revealed 41% of voters also care about homelessness and rough sleeping, which ranked as the second priority for the next Government.

This was followed by 39% who selected a reduction in the number of empty homes.

Private renter priorities

Managing the pace of rental growth in the private sector is the highest priority for private renters, chosen by 33% – followed by giving renters in the private rented sector more rights over issues including evictions and rent rises.

Zoopla suggested the political parties are all aligned on the need for a new Government to deliver rental reforms, but measures to manage or control rental inflation are not under debate in England for fear of damaging property investment.

First-time buyers, despite being the focus of several housing policy proposals, featured joint fourth in the list of priorities, at 33%.

Richard Donnell, executive director at Zoopla, said: “British voters have high expectations from a new Government on housing. The overarching response is ‘build more homes, but other things matter too’.”

He added: “It is clear voters are well aware of the pressures on the housing market, with reducing homelessness and rough sleeping and doing more to reduce empty and under-utilised homes [all] in the top three priorities.

“Building more homes has the potential to start addressing many of the priorities identified in our survey with Ipsos. We have been getting closer to the 300,000 homes a year level, but breaking through will require a big political push to deliver the homes the nation needs across all housing tenures.”

Ben Marshall, research director at Ipsos, said: “Most people think finding a home to settle down in has become harder (something the Prime Minister recognised earlier in the election campaign) and that we are not keeping up with meeting the country’s housing needs. But the survey also finds a sense that the Governments can affect change and facilitate an increase in the supply of new homes.”