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Homeserve plc : Cost Of Homeownership To Rise 6.4 Per Cent In Next Quarter

03/19/2013 | 11:44am US/Eastern
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COST OF HOMEOWNERSHIP TO RISE 6.4 PER CENT IN NEXT QUARTER New HomeServe Homeownership Index reveals ever-increasing squeeze of family finances

- Cost of homeownership anticipated to rise 6.4%t in next three months
- Cost satellite television among only expenses expected to fall
- More than a third of homeowners find running a property less affordable than three months ago

Friday 15 March: Spring may have sprung, but Brits are bracing themselves for the cost of homeownership to soar further, despite the promise of milder weather, new research from HomeServe reveals.

The inaugural Cost of Homeownership Index - a major quarterly study of household costs and expenditure - finds that Britons anticipate spending on their homes to increase by 6.4 per cent in the next three months, with more than a third expecting running costs to become less affordable than in the previous quarter.1
The Index lays bare the average running cost of a UK property, based on a range of necessary outgoings - including rent and mortgage payments, utilities, TV and broadband, and general repairs and maintenance - as well as unexpected emergency expenses.
It reveals that Britons expect the cost of homeownership to reach £1,551.99 a quarter - up from £1,454.00 in the previous three months. Measures such as mortgages and rent, gas, water and electricity, and even cleaning and gardening are all anticipated to increase, with nationwide falls largely anticipated in satellite or cable TV subscriptions, as homeowners potentially look to shift provider or downgrade packages after Christmas, and winter-related outgoings, like home maintenance and emergencies.
There is considerable regional variation within the findings as households in London are braced to face the highest increases - of a massive 16.7%, from £1,494 to £1,743, fuelled largely by the expectation of hefty mortgage rises. Meanwhile, those in the East of England are actually anticipating a 4% fall, from £1,406 to £1,350.
The research also highlights the pressure this puts on already stretched family finances. Some 37% of households find running their home less affordable than it was just three months ago - with one in 10 (9%) finding it a lot less affordable. And with average household take-home pay at £2,645 a quarter, once non-housing related costs of £1,240 are also taken into account2 it is clear just how tight incomes are being squeezed.
As a result, three in 10 (30%) admit they would struggle to afford any emergency outgoings, which added an average of £96.24 to core outgoings in the previous three months alone.
Indeed, six in 10 (60%) homes have nothing put away for emergencies, putting them one unforeseen disaster away from serious financial problems. And should a household disaster strike, more than one in two would be forced to raid their savings (56%), with a fifth (19%) putting it on a credit card and 13% having to borrow money.
However, the experiences of households who faced emergencies in the previous quarter suggest it may not be this simple. Only one in three (32%) actually were able to use their savings while just 15% could turn to a credit card, a possible reflection of many households' restricted access to credit - not to mention the commonplace practice of tradesmen not accepting card payments. Instead, 38% were forced to pay for it out of their monthly salary, potentially creating serious financial problems.
HomeServe Memberships CEO Jonathan King said: "With this new Homeownership Index, we hope to provide a clear picture of
the changing state of household finances across the UK. Already, a surprising picture has emerged of the number of households in the UK who are unable to afford the cost of an unexpected emergency as part of their monthly income. This underlines the importance of planning ahead. With money tight, many of us don't have the buffer of savings, credit or disposable income to protect ourselves against unforeseen outgoings. This is when home emergency insurance can make all the difference.
"As the research continues to be built upon in the coming months, we hope to see where homeowners' money is being spent, as well as where people's budgets are being squeezed the most."

Household spending by quarter:

Predicted next quarter

(Spring: March-May)

Last quarter

(Winter: Dec-Feb)

Expected change

Accommodation

Mortgage

£594.04

£481

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