Two-thirds of younger Londoners support green belt reform to help solve the capital’s housing crisis and enable them to buy their first home, according to research. 

Pocket Living, which builds affordable homes for first-time buyers, surveyed 1,000 Londoners aged between 25 and 45 and found more than three quarters, 78 per cent, felt the government was not doing enough to create reasonably-priced homes. 

Chief executive Marc Vlessing said: “Our findings suggest a staggering two in three non-homeowning Londoners believe they will never own their own home and without urgent intervention to enhance housing solutions, the capital could see many hard-working city makers, essential to our growing economy, pack their bags and leave.” 

He said the end of policies such as help-to-buy and higher mortgage rates plus the cost-of-living crisis meant a growing number of young people felt they would never be able to buy in London. 

The survey found 65 per cent of respondents believed they would never be able to buy their own home, with the number of people looking to buy within London plunging to a three-year low. Just over one in ten, 13 per cent, stated their intention to buy over the next 12 months – down from one in five in 2021. 

Nearly all respondents, 96 per cent, believed that housing is a crucial issue for politicians to focus on ahead of the next general election ranking it above education, immigration, and Brexit. 

At the Labour party conference last month opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer promised to examine green belt restrictions, with a particular focus on land that is not greenfield but is unavailable for housing development.  

“Where there are clearly ridiculous uses of it, disused car parks, dreary wasteland. Not a green belt. A grey belt. Sometimes with a city’s boundary. Then this cannot be justified as a reason to hold our future back,” he said. 

Green belt designated land now makes up 22 per cent of the total land area in London, the highest proportion for any area in England, according to government data. 

Housing transcends party political preferences for younger voters 

Pocket Living’s survey, now in its third year, found 67 per cent would vote for a candidate at the next election promoting more housing delivery regardless of their political stance. This figure increases to 73 per cent of those aged between 25-29, suggesting that the younger the demographic the more likely housing issues will influence their key political decisions over the next 12 months. 

“It is clear from our research that these Londoners are ready to take to the ballot box to help improve their long-term housing needs and in 2024 they will have the opportunity to do just that,” said Vlessing. 

The study found almost one quarter, 22 per cent of non-homeowners under 45 are considering leaving London over the next 12 months, due to high rents and for-sale housing costs. A quarter of the key workers surveyed, roughly 200,000 people in the 25- to 45-year-old age bracket, could also leave in search of more affordable housing this year. 

The results were weighted by age, gender and borough to ensure that the results are representative of 25 to 45-year-olds living in London, based on the latest census data. 

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development finance lenders were keen to see reform of the planning system so that housebuilders can speed up delivery. 

Photo by Pocket Living of Woodside Park Development, North London. 


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