4th August 2007 - A survey by Ipsos MORI shows substantial concern among the general public over the impact private investors are having on the UK's housing market. Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 2,000 people in mid-July and found that one in four (24%) think Buy to Let is having a negative impact where they live, with over half (53%) calling for greater government regulation of Buy to Let.
- Buy to Let is an emotive issue. One in four think Buy to Let is having a negative impact where they live.
- Six in ten say Buy to Let reduces the amount of affordable housing for those who want to buy.
- More than half believe it should be more heavily regulated.
- But nearly half would invest if they had spare cash and four in ten say this type of private investment can help improve run-down areas.
- Londoners are most likely to consider the impact of Buy to Let to be positive, whereas those living in Wales are most likely to consider the impact to be negative.
The impact is most likely to be felt in Wales where one in three (34%) say Buy to Let has a negative impact.
In particular, there is concern about the impact of private investors on supply, with six in ten (60%) saying that Buy to Let reduces the amount of affordable housing for those who want to buy property to live in and nearly half (45%) stating that Buy to Let can damage the sense of community in an area.
Many people do recognise that Buy to Let also has positive aspects, though. Four in ten (40%) say that this type of private investment can help to improve run-down areas and nearly two thirds (63%) say it makes a valuable contribution to the supply of privately rented properties available.
Nearly half (48%) would invest themselves if they had any spare cash. Even those who are negative about Buy to Let are nonetheless quite likely to want to jump on the bandwagon — almost a third (31%) of those who say Buy to Let has a negative impact on their area would invest if they had some spare cash.
Londoners are generally more upbeat about Buy to Let — they are least likely to have concerns about its impact on supply or the damage it can cause to the sense of community, and most likely to recognise the contribution it can make in improving run-down areas.
Young people are also generally more positive. Only a third (32%) of under 25 year olds think Buy to Let can damage the sense of community compared with over a half (53%) of those aged 45 or over. They are also far more likely to want to get in on the act — nearly two thirds (64%) of under 25 year olds would invest if they had the money.
"This survey shows that many people have strong feelings about Buy to Let," says Stephen Finlay, Head of Housing Research at Ipsos MORI and the report's author, "but the picture is mixed. People are likely to recognise the positive impact it can have on the supply of private rented accommodation and in improving run-down areas, but also that it can be detrimental to a sense of community. Whatever people think about Buy to Let though, there are clearly plenty of people eager to get in on the action if they can."
Public Affairs Monitor — 2,001 interviews with the UK general public (16+) between 12-17 July 2007
This article first appeared in the The Guardian newspaper: Why most people want to see fewer buy-to-let investors in their region