News

Is ‘homeowner’ an outdated term?

26th March 2019

It’s no secret that the UK is in the middle of a housing crisis, with prices rocketing due to the shortage of available homes. Property costs have become unmanageable for many people who are now turning to the private rental market. We currently break our website down into three sections, one for tradespeople, one for specifiers and one for homeowners; but, with fewer and fewer people actually owning their own properties, lately we’ve been contemplating whether the term homeowner is becoming outdated?

Research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies found that the chances of a young adult on a middle income owning a home in the UK have more than halved in the past two decades, with home ownership falling to just 27% in 2017 for those earning between £22,200 and £30,600. These figures come off the back of the average house prices growing around seven times faster than the average incomes of young adults. Just to emphasise the point further, a recent Government survey found that 46% of 24-35-year olds are currently paying private landlords for accommodation, leading to those in this demographic being labelled ‘generation rent’.

With many facing the prospect of never being able to afford to own their own home, it’s clear that the term homeowner doesn’t currently reflect a large proportion of young adults in the UK. As the number of young adults who own their own homes continues to dramatically reduce, perhaps we do need to reconsider the blanket use of the term ‘homeowners’ - is it time to start using the phrase ‘home occupiers’ instead?

Building to the requirements of the next generation of home occupiers

If the Government is to be believed, there should be plenty of work for the construction industry in an attempt to solve this issue, with 300,000 homes a year promised as part of its new build targets. However, building homes in volume will not fix the issue alone and it’s important that these properties are designed with those who will be living in them in mind – whether they are ‘homeowners’ or not.

In order to explore what the homes of the future need to be like, we conducted some research of our own, surveying 1,000 25-40-year olds to investigate their views on the types of homes they want to live in. There were three common themes that we came across in our research: sustainability, natural light and technology.

Eco-friendly homes

Sustainability has arguably been the most important topic on the news agenda in the last few years and members of the pubic are becoming ever increasingly aware of their environmental impact. Our research suggests that this shift towards a more eco-conscious viewpoint is likely to have an impact on the types of homes people want to live in, with more than half of respondents saying it was either somewhat or very important that their home is made using environmentally-responsible materials. 22% of respondents also said the use of recycled and sustainable building products was an appealing sustainability feature - good news for us as we’ve invested over £10m in enlarging in our post-consumer PVC-U recycling plant Eurocell Recycle over the past decade!

Natural Light

Health, happiness, productivity and mental wellbeing can all be improved simply by having natural light in a building. So it wasn’t much of a surprise that many respondents wanted the design of their home to maximise natural light. The vast majority (80%) of respondents said that natural light in the home is either very or somewhat important and 57% said they would be more likely to buy or rent a home if it had more natural light. We should be seeing plenty of Skypods in the homes of the future then!

Technology

In the digital age, technology has taken over our lives and changed the way many of us go about our days. Technology has also started to take over our homes but will it be in-built into future properties? Overall, 53% of our respondents said they would be either very or quite interested in technology-enabled products being included in the build of their home, with 57% of 31-35-year olds and 52% of 25-30-year olds having an interest in smart technology being incorporated. However, despite this appetite for technology, the rapid rate of change means that homes which incorporate current technology will soon be outdated, so it’s not necessarily the best idea to spend too much money actually building it into homes.

You can check out all the stats cited above in our ‘The Future Home Report’ which includes both the survey findings along with insight from experts from Simpson Haugh, Hawkins Brown, BDP and The High Street Group. Download the report in full here - https://www.eurocell.co.uk/whitepaper

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