6th June 2019

Employees struggle to buy first home

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Almost half of non-home owning workers in the UK believe they will never afford to get on the property ladder, a new study has shown.

Despite 65 per cent wanting a place of their own, the Close Brothers Financial Wellbeing Index revealed that for many it just doesn’t seem possible.

The index was developed with corporate wellbeing expert Professor Sir Cary Cooper and highlighted that four in ten employees don’t even know where to start to step on the first rung of the property ladder.

The respondents said they don’t know where to start, hence the importance of offering employees the right advice to help them achieve their long-term savings goal and require a financial plan in place to start to save successfully to buy a home.

Employees scored their wellbeing in each of the index’s seven areas of financial health, scoring an average of just 53.6 out of 100 in the UK.
Financial health in the UK is higher within the property category, with an average score of 61.2 per cent, with 67 per cent believing their housing costs are affordable.

However, more than a quarter of UK employees are spending more than 50 per cent of their monthly income on housing costs.

Jeanette Makings, head of financial education at Close Brothers said: “Housing is a key area of financial wellbeing, and it’s heartening to see that employees record a relatively strong score here. However, there seems to be a gap between perception and reality.

“While there’s confidence around affordability, a huge proportion of people’s salaries are going on housing costs. This makes saving for the future more difficult and contributes to the scale of uncertainty when it comes to taking the first step onto the property ladder.

“All of these issues can be improved by a solid financial education programme, supporting employees in their ambitions be they short or long term. Employers can help employees in this respect, improving their financial health and creating a happier and more productive workforce.”

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, a leading expert in workplace wellbeing, ALLIANCE Manchester Business School, University of Manchester said: “Shelter is an absolute necessity and being worried about housing affordability can unsurprisingly damage a person’s wellbeing regardless of whether they’re at home or work.

“Whether it be paying the rent, taking the leap as a first-time buyer, or the impact of a variable interest rate in times of economic uncertainty, it’s vital that employees are comfortable and confident in how to approach their finances when it comes to housing.”