The challenge of housing affordability in London is now one of the top concerns of politicians and public alike. While the issue most obviously affects those on very low incomes, middle-income households are also priced out of the market—especially if they aspire to own their own homes. The nominal cost of buying an average home in the capital has risen by more than 600% in the last 15 years, while the proportion of homeowners has fallen from 57% to 51% (the lowest in the country). Crucial workers such as teachers, chefs and doctors but also accountants and creatives for London’s thriving industries who do not manage to buy homes in the capital may simply move elsewhere, diluting the capital’s skills base and weakening its communities and productivity.
Pocket Living caters almost exclusively for this market, providing affordable (defined as 80% of market price) new housing for first-time buyers in London. Most of its buyers and prospective buyers come from London’s enormous pool of young employed singles and couples. Now sharing flats or living with their parents, they long to buy their own homes. Their experience has much to tell us about the life of renters in the capital and what they hope to find in a long-term home.
This research was conducted by LSE London and Metropolitan Workshop architects, together with Pocket Living (who funded the project). The aim was to better understand the housing careers and aspirations of the young Londoners who underpin the economy of our city in order to inform the housing debate and ensure that this crucial demographic is not forgotten.
In July 2019, researchers surveyed individuals who had registered their interest in a Pocket home. The link to an online questionnaire was sent to 14,096 people, of whom 925 responded (6.6% response rate). We also hosted a focus group at the London School of Economics in September 2019. Given the range of expertise in the research team, we probed both social science questions (demographic, financial and economic factors) as well as aspects of design.
This report presents our main findings about
- the housing aspirations of young London professionals
- the factors that influence their housing choices
- the housing journeys of young Londoners before they buy a home
The full report is available here.