Just 23% opposed new homes being built in their area, annual survey shows


The majority of people are supportive of more homes being built in their local area with 57% doing so and just 23% being opposed to the developments, according to the latest British Social Attitudes survey.

The survey, run annually by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), reveals that support for homes being built increased between 2010 and 2014 and has remained stable ever since.

But it also shows that attitudes have become more polarised. The proportion of people who strongly support homes being built in the local area increased from 14% in 2017 to 18% in 2018, whilst the proportion of people strongly opposing more homes being built in the local area increased from 5% in 2017 to 6% in 2018.

Some groups, such as owners, older people, and those living in rural areas, are more likely to oppose homes being built in the local area than others.

Indeed, opposition for more homes being built in the local area was higher for owner occupiers at 28% than for private renters at 15% and social renters at 13%. Opposition to homes being built was higher for those aged 46 to 55 at 27%, than 56 to 65 year olds at 22%, those aged 66 and over at 26%, and those aged 18 to 25 at 14%.

People living in country villages and small cities or towns were more likely to oppose more homes being built in the local area at 28% and 24% respectively, than those living in big cities at 18%.

For people who aren’t supportive of more homes being built in the local area, building more or improving existing medical facilities would likely increase support for more homes being built.

The survey also reveals what makes people more supportive of developments, such as more medical facilities, improved transport links and more employment opportunities. While people who are aware of developer contributions, that is the council having the power to make building companies provide affordable homes and funding for local service provision, are no more likely to support more homes being built in the local area than those who are not aware.

Renters and younger people are more likely to consider buying a new build home than home owners and older people with 47% of private renters and 42% of social renters doing so, more than the 35% of home owners.

Younger people were more likely to consider buying a new build home than older people. Some 50% of those aged 18 to 25 and 48% of those aged 26 to 35 reported that they would consider buying a new build home, compared to 33% of 46 to 55 year olds, 29% of 56 to 65 year olds, and 32% of those aged 66 and over.

A higher proportion of people think that new build homes are well designed and well built than poorly designed and badly built. Those who feel favourably towards the design and build of new build homes are more likely to support more homes being built in their local area.

Overall, some 46% of people thought new build homes are well designed and 36% of people thought new build homes are well built, compared to 23% who felt new build homes are poorly designed and 30% who felt new build homes are badly built.

People who felt new build homes are well designed were more likely to support more homes being built in the local area at 61%, than those who felt new build homes are poorly designed at 53%.

People who felt new build homes are well built were more likely to support more homes being built in the local area at 65%, than those who felt new build homes are badly built at 53%.

Most people think new build homes are more expensive to buy than older homes, but the majority of people do think new build homes are cheaper to heat than older homes.

Some 55% of people felt that new build homes are more expensive to buy than older homes, compared to 14% who felt they are cheaper to buy, with the data showing that 67% of people thought that new build homes are cheaper to heat than older homes are, compared to 13% who thought that new build homes are more expensive to heat.

As in previous years, given a free choice, the vast majority of people in 2018 would choose to buy accommodation rather than rent. Amongst renters, private renters are more likely to aspire to buy than social renters.

Overall the majority of respondents, 87%, would choose to buy a home rather than rent with just 12% opting for letting. This remained broadly the same as in 2010 when 86% would choose to buy and 14% would choose to rent, and 2017 when it was 88% and 11%.

While all renters would choose to buy rather than rent, private renters were more likely to choose to buy at 79% compared to social renters at 62%.



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