New poll shows big variations in housing preferences and awareness across Scotland

Annie Mauger
Annie Mauger

An opinion poll commissioned to coincide with the first official Scottish Housing Day has found the Scottish public knows very little about their housing options beyond the options of buying with a mortgage and private and social renting.

The poll also found significant regional variations in the types of housing tenure people are interested in considering as a future home.

The purpose of Scottish Housing Day is to raise public awareness of the latest developments in housing and the options potentially available. The aim is to give the public easier access to the resources they need to make properly informed housing decisions. Housing organisations are hosting various activities to mark Scottish Housing Day and the general public is being encouraged to get involved through interaction with social media and a dedicated website.

For the new opinion poll, a total sample of 1,046 adults were surveyed online from September 7-9. The survey was undertaken by Progressive Partnership in conjunction with YouGov. The results are weighted to be representative of all Scottish adults.

A total of 89 per cent of all respondents said they know “nothing” or “very little” about the Home Owners’ Support Fund while 83 per cent knew “nothing” or “very little” about mid-market rent (sometimes referred to as intermediate rent or sub-market rent). 81 per cent said they know “nothing” or “very little” about the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme, which allows a property to be purchased with shared ownership. Those out of the total sample knowing “nothing” or “very little” were 80 per cent in relation to supported accommodation and 71 per cent for both Help to Buy (i.e. buying new build with shared ownership) and self-build.

The survey results also showed significant regional variations in people’s preferences when it came to housing tenures they might consider as a future home. Overall, buying with a mortgage remains the most often considered option with 41 per cent of all people responding saying they would consider this followed by social renting (20 per cent) and renting from a private landlord (18 per cent). But the proportion of adults considering buying with a mortgage varied considerably between regions, being as high as 62 per cent in the Lothians and as low as 32 per cent in the Central region.

The Open Market Shared Equity Scheme was notably popular in the West of Scotland, where 12 per cent of respondents said they would consider this as a future housing option. There was notably strong interest in self-build in the Highlands and Islands where 28 per cent of people said they would consider this option. Interest in social renting as a housing option ranged from 10 per cent of those responding from the Highlands and Islands to 30 per cent in the South of Scotland.

29 per cent of respondents in the Lothians were interested in renting from a private landlord compared to just 8 per cent in the Highlands and Islands. At 16 per cent, there was also particularly strong interest in mid-market rent in the Lothians region.

Minister for local government and housing, Kevin Stewart, said: “This poll shows that people could be missing out because they don’t know and understand the range of affordable housing options that are open to them.

“Scottish Housing Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness of all the types of housing that are available – whether it’s equity schemes, mid-market rent, or even building your own home – we want to make sure people are making the most of the wide range of ways they can access the housing market.

“We are committed to making sure everyone has access to a warm, good quality home which is why we are investing £3 billion and have set the ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes, with 35,000 of these being for social rent, over the lifetime of this Parliament. We are also supporting people into home ownership with our £500 million Help to Buy (Scotland) and open market shared equity schemes.”

Commenting on the opinion poll results, CIH Scotland director, Annie Mauger, said: “The results of this new poll confirm that, aside from buying with a mortgage, social renting and renting from a private landlord, the Scottish public generally knows very little about the broader range of housing options potentially available to them when considering where to live. The huge regional variation in housing preferences identified by the poll also reflects the differences in economic and environmental circumstances across Scotland, which we need to take into account when planning housing solutions.”

Concerning Scottish Housing Day, Annie Mauger added: “The low level of knowledge and awareness about different housing options identified by this poll clearly demonstrates the hugely beneficial role an annual Scottish Housing Day can play in stimulating discussion and making information and advice about housing options more widely and easily available. This is the beginning of an ongoing campaign to help people to be better equipped to choose the right tenure of housing to suit their individual circumstances.”

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