Home truths for the UK property market
IT is often said that the UK is a nation of home owners, more so than in many other parts of Europe, but new data suggests otherwise.
While 65 per cent of people are home owners in Britain, 73 per cent are in Italy, 79 per cent in Spain and 84 per cent in Poland.
France has the same number as the UK and Germany less at just 54 per cent, according to a study by mortgage company Credit Foncier based on European Union statistics.
The study observing eight European countries also shows the Dutch spend more of their income on property but pay less for their homes, as prices fell between 2006 and 2015. Buyers in the UK have seen prices rise by 30 per cent.
More new research, by Dutch bank ING, has found that people who own their own home are generally happier than those who rent; in the UK this divide is more marked compared to the rest of Europe. Fewer than half of UK renters are happy with their situation compared with 80 per cent of home owners, while in the rest of Europe it is 57 per cent and 77 per cent.
ING said that this may be linked to affordability and a less well developed renting market. The bank’s senior economist Ian Bright suggests the UK housing market as a whole presents unique challenges. He said: “The rate of house construction is the lowest in Europe, which results in a persistent mismatch between levels of supply and demand.
“Many of those looking to buy a house are left wondering if they will ever get on the housing ladder at all.”
In the UK, despite prices rising incessantly over the past years, just 54 per cent consider homes expensive; a smaller proportion than the 60 per cent across Europe. Few people believe prices will fall, and 40 per cent believe that house prices will never fall.
But people in the UK do not necessarily feel trapped by the situation.
The survey found that a third of British people said they had been forced to stay in their current home because of rising prices compared to 50 per cent across Europe. This varies largely from country to country with a large proportion of all Europeans believing that property prices will imminently level out.