The Federation of Master Builders

Three-quarters of London’s NIMBYs worried about house prices

Published date: 15 November 2017

More than three quarters of NIMBYs in London admit to being frustrated that the next generation cannot afford to buy their own home, according to new research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Key results from the FMB’s UK-wide research into NIMBYs (‘not-in-my-back-yarders’), or in other words people who tend to take an anti-development view to new homes being built in their area, include:

  • More than three-quarters (76%) of NIMBYs in London admit to being frustrated that the next generation cannot afford to buy their own home – the highest percentage of any region in the UK;
  • More than one-third (36%) of the capital’s home owners are concerned about houses or flats being built in their local community having a negative impact on where they live;
  • Two thirds (66%) of Londoners feel frustrated that their children, grandchildren or great grandchildren cannot afford to buy a property in the same area as them – the highest of any region in the UK.

Barry Mortimer, Director of FMB London, said: “If we are to keep pace with London’s housing needs and build the 66,000 new homes we need each year, Londoners need to be more positive about new homes being built in their area. Rising property prices are more keenly felt in the capital than anywhere else in the UK. In fact, the cost of a London home has boomed to such an extent in recent years that home ownership is now seemingly unrealistic for many of the capital’s young people. Our research shows that two-thirds of Londoners feel frustrated that their children, grandchildren or great grandchildren cannot afford to buy a property in the same area as them. If property prices are to decrease, we need to build more new homes. We have been under-building in London for decades. One reason for this can sometime be the disproportionate power of the ‘not-in-my-back-yard’ brigade – the NIMBYs”.

Robert Hunter, who lives in Wimbledon, London, is one of those who is concerned about overdevelopment in London. He said “I am concerned about how our infrastructure will cope if we are to build 66,000 new homes a year. As we continue with our drive to build thousands of new houses we should also be wary of the real need to build more schools, more doctor’s surgeries and hospitals. These services are full to bursting point already and are oversubscribed, often with long waiting lists. I really question whether there should be such a drive to build more homes without first building the infrastructure to go with them”.

Mortimer responded: “The problem of NIMBYism may have become more pronounced in recent years with the use of social media and online petitions. Online platforms allow NIMBYs to shout loudly and therefore be heard by local authorities, regardless of how few people they might, in reality, represent. It is ironic that more than three-quarters of London’s NIMBYs who take an anti-development approach to new homes being built in their community also bemoan the inability of the next generation to buy a property nearby. Unsurprisingly, given the high cost of homes in the capital, concern over affordability is higher than in any other region in the UK. Our new research reminds all Londoners that we cannot have it both ways. We must either significantly increase the delivery of new homes in the capital, or house prices and rents will continue to rise.”

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