Public Attitudes to Housebuilding – Overview of findings from 2017 Social Attitudes Survey

The Government’s Public attitudes to housebuilding survey took place in 2017 to get a measure on the attitudes towards construction in their local areas.

Over half of people surveyed were widely supportive of new homes being built in their local areas. This is very similar to the results of the survey taken in 2014 and shows that there has actually been an increase over time since the survey taken in 2010 (where the percentage of those supportive of new homes being built was only 28%).

In the 2017 survey, only 21% of people were opposed to new homes being built in their local areas. This is about the same as in the 2014 survey but is considerably less than 2013 (31%) and 2010 (46%) respectively.

The levels of net opposition (that being the percentage of those opposed minus the percentage of those supporting) has reduced from 18% in 2010 to -16% in 2013 and -34% in 2014 and 2017. What that means is that in 2013, 2014 and 2017, more people supported building new homes in their local areas than were against it.

In the survey taken in 2010 only 5% of respondents said they strongly supported more homes being built in their local area. That number increased to 14% in 2017.

The strength in opposition to new homes being built in local areas decreased since 2010. In 2017 those saying they strongly opposed new home building in their local areas was just 5%, a reeducation of 10% since the 2010 survey. 

Those who didn’t support new homes or were neither for or against new homes were asked what would be needed to make them more supportive. Respondents to this question selected the following most frequently: 

  • more employment opportunities
  • more medical facilities built or existing ones improved
  • transport links improved
  • more schools built or improved
  • more affordable homes to rent (from LA or HA)
  • more green spaces/parks created or existing ones improved
  • more homes for low cost home ownership/shared ownership


When asked, most (65%) said that a cash payment for households living close to proposed development sites would not make them more supportive of the building. 23% said that the payment would make them more supportive or much more supportive but 9% said that it’d actually cause them to be more opposed to the new development.    

The survey asked respondents who they thought should be ultimately responsible for where new homes are actually built. Half of respondents (50%) said local councils should be responsible and 41% said local communities should have the final say on where new homes are built.

Lastly, those who took the survey were asked if they would rather rent or buy, if given free choice. An overwhelming 88% said they would choose to buy if the options were freely available. 11% said they would prefer to rent. These stats have barely changed over the last 30 years.

To see the survey in full, please click here.