Aspiring homeowners 'less optimistic' about about getting on property ladder

More people appear to have given up on the dream of home ownership altogether over the last year, a study has found.

Just over seven in 10 (71%) people who do not own a home aspire to get on the property ladder one day, according to the latest annual survey conducted by the HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance.

The proportion has decreased compared with the 73% of non-homeowners who were aiming to make the jump into home ownership when the survey was carried out in 2016.

It marks the first year-on-year fall since the study started in 2013, when 65% of non-homeowners aspired to one day own their own property. Between 2013 and 2016, the proportion had steadily climbed each year.

Among aspiring first-time buyers taking part in the 2017 survey, 86% said house prices were their most serious concern, with 85% citing saving for a deposit as a serious problem and 80% worried about the availability of homes.

By contrast, the position of people who already own their own home has shown signs of improvement, perhaps boosted by rises in house prices in recent years.

Just over two-fifths (42%) of people surveyed were concerned about negative equity, down from 44% last year and 64% in 2014.

Alongside this, concerns about the ability to move up the property ladder have softened, with 58% of people expressing concern about this, compared with 65% in 2014.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said: "People are feeling less optimistic about their chances of buying their first property.

"With the election approaching, it is vital that housing is placed at the forefront of the policy agenda and that whatever party is elected, it takes serious steps to address the growing concerns of aspiring homeowners."

Kim Vernau, chief executive officer of BLP Insurance said: "It is important that post the election result, the provision of housing is seen as a critical requirement."

More than 2,000 people from across the UK took part in the 2017 survey, including 780 people who were not homeowners.