One in five people fear having to move out of their local area because of the high cost of housing – and younger generations appear to be the most affected, according to a new survey.
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), which commissioned the poll, said the findings suggested the country was in the grip of a housing crisis which is “causing misery for millions”.
And CIH chief executive Grainia Long called on politicians to take urgent action to tackle the problem by increasing the supply of homes.
Ms Long said: “These figures are further confirmation that our housing crisis is causing misery for millions of people across Great Britain and fuelling fears for the future – particularly among younger people.”
She went on: “All parties must do much more to convince the people of Great Britain that they can address the issue.
“Now is the time for action – we’re challenging all parties to put tackling the housing crisis front a centre in their manifestos.
“To have any hope of tackling our housing crisis we must drastically increase the number of new homes we build across all tenures.”
The online survey by Ipsos MORI involving 2000 people aged 16 to 75 found that 40% of people would be in favour of more homes being built in their area.
It found that 20% of people believe they may have to leave their local area because the cost of housing is too high. Young people are the most concerned, with 36% of 16 to 24-year-olds and 26% of 25 to 34-year-olds believing they will have to move out of the area.
More than half of 16 to 24-year-olds were worried about rising house prices, with 52% saying that they would be a bad thing for them personally, compared with 32% across Great Britain as a whole.
Many are concerned about being able to keep up their rent or mortgage payments, with 24% of people and 32% of 16 to 24-year-olds being worried about this. Some 29% of those surveyed are concerned they may not be able to meet their mortgage payments in a year’s time.
The survey also revealed that 60% of people believe it is harder for them to buy than it was for their parent’s generation. A total of 32% said that their housing costs were causing them stress.
When asked, 52% of people said that no political party had the best policies on housing, and 41% believed that the parties did not pay a lot of attention to housing.
The survey was released in a week in which the National Association of Estate Agents revealed that 19% of all properties sold in May went for more than the asking price as demand increases and people face fierce competition for houses.
Latest official figures also showed that house prices leapt by 9.9% over the last year to reach a new high of £260,000 typically in April.
CIH, which is the body representing housing professionals, released the figures ahead of Housing 2014, its annual conference and exhibition, which takes place at Manchester Central from June 24-26.