Homelessness and increasing the number of social homes also seen as important issues for the government to address.
Affordable housing is now considered one of the most important measures to improve public life in the UK, the latest Kantar Public Opinion Monitor reveals today.
Almost a third (31%) of the British public now rank ‘affordable housing’ as one of their top three priorities, with only ‘investing more in health care’ scoring higher. Affordable housing was placed ahead of other issues such as crime (27%), social care (26%) and generating economic growth (25%) on the Kantar Public Policy Index.
When it comes to housing policy, there are three key areas the public think the government should prioritize: increasing the overall supply of affordable housing (32%), homelessness (31%) and increasing the number of social homes (27%).
The poll also revealed a deep dissatisfaction with private renting. Nearly one in three private renters (30%) stated they did not want themselves or their family to have to rent privately in the long-term, and yet many consider themselves to be stuck there. Over a quarter of private renters (27%) don’t think they will ever be able to afford to buy their own home, and over one in seven (15%) think it will take them more than ten years.
Unsurprisingly, the cost is the main barrier to private renters accessing home ownership, with 37% saying house prices was the biggest problem for them, and a third (33%) saying it was saving enough money for a deposit.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Given the scale of the housing crisis and a sheer number of lives blighted by it, the public is calling for real action on homelessness and more social housing. Regardless of age, where they live, or who they vote for – the message is clear, buying is unaffordable and private renting is not fit for purpose in the long-term. People want and need an alternative.
“The government should abandon its dogged focus on home ownership, and instead invest in a large-scale housebuilding programme to radically boost the number of genuinely affordable homes to rent.”
Political debate in Britain is dominated by Brexit, but outside the Westminster bubble what people care most about our health and affordable housing. The outcome of the next General Election may well be determined by which political party best addresses those practical concerns of the British public.