New research by housing charity Shelter shows new UK houses are beset by problems to a shocking extent
A poll of 4,341 UK adults, conducted for Shelter by YouGov, has revealed that, of the 241 English respondents that had bought a new home in the past 10 years, some 51 per cent had experienced major problems with their new homes as a direct result of the initial construction.
Examples of these faults included poorly constructed or unfinished fixtures, problems with the exterior of the building, and faults with utilities.
Shelter’s interim chief executive Graeme Brown said: ‘The current way of building homes has had its day and it has failed the nation. The only way to fix our ever-growing housing crisis is for the government to champion a bold new approach which responds to communities to build the genuinely affordable, beautiful homes they want – as we have done as a country in the past.
‘Until this happens, millions of ordinary families across the country will continue to pay the price.’
The results of the survey were published alongside a report by Shelter, New Civic Housebuilding, which said the current system of house-building in England was failing families by producing high-priced and poor-quality homes.
In the report, Shelter calls for a return to quality, affordable homes, citing model examples such as the Victorian housing by George Peabody, Edward Guinness and Octavia Hill; the 18th-century housing in Bath designed by John Wood; and the new towns of Letchworth and Milton Keynes.
The report also shows that new homes are typically out of the reach of 83 per cent of working families who are renting privately – even if they use the government’s Help to Buy scheme. The West Midlands ranks as the worst-hit region, with 93 per cent of families unable to afford the average price of a new home.
In addition, the report suggests a new model for housebuilding, which it calls ‘civic housebuilding’, which brings in land at low cost, and channels competition between firms into raising the quality and affordability of homes.
Last week, housebuilder Bovis announced it would pay out £7 million in compensation to customers who had bought poor-quality new homes.
In February, communities secretary Sajid Javid, releasing the long-awaited Housing Whitepaper, admitted Britain’s housing market was ‘broken’.