25 January 2024

40% of adults fear housing pressures will get worse in 2024

Shelter and HSBC UK urge people to get advice early: www.shelter.org.uk/get_help

Two in five (40%) of people who pay housing costs in England – equivalent to 12 million adults – are worried their housing pressures will get worse this year, new research reveals.

The research from Shelter and HSBC UK, conducted by YouGov, lays bare the intense housing pressures millions of people are under. Over 19.7 million adults in England (66%) reported housing concerns in 2023 including:

  • 6.3 million people (21%) struggled to keep up with their mortgage or rent payments
  • 3.1 million (10%) worried about eviction from their home
  • 11.7 million (39%) had to cut back on essentials to keep up with their housing costs.

The polling reveals the real toll these mounting concerns are having on people’s lives as more than half (56%) report being kept awake at night in the last year, while seven in ten (70%) said they felt anxious, and half said their housing situation has left them feeling hopeless (49%).

While two in five (41%) respondents say they want to take action in 2024 to alleviate housing pressures, three in 10 (30%) say they do not know where to go to get help with their housing concerns.

Get help: Free expert advice on housing and financial health available

Shelter and HSBC UK are urging anyone who is feeling overwhelmed by their housing problems to get in touch for free and expert advice by visiting www.shelter.org.uk/get_help, or reach out to your bank for broader financial health support. By tackling issues early, they are less likely to escalate.

With support from partners including HSBC UK, Shelter provides tailored and easy to follow advice on a wide range of housing issues on its website, as well as a free web-chat service, emergency national helpline, and face-to-face services across the country.

Shelter and HSBC UK are working together to help more people and communities build financial resilience and break the vicious circle of homelessness, building on the bank’s ground-breaking ‘No Fixed Address’ bank account service.

Shelter emergency helpline manager, Nadeem Khan said: “The housing emergency can feel like a pressure cooker, and we know how easy it can be to feel overwhelmed, but our message is that you don’t have to face it alone. We saw how tough 2023 was for so many people, as housing costs kept rising and evictions surged. Now millions are stepping into 2024 with real worries about keeping hold of their home.

“Shelter is on the front line of the housing emergency, and we see the devastating impact this mounting pressure is having on people’s lives from sleepless nights to days filled with anxiety. The sooner people reach out for help the better, and so in partnership with HSBC UK we’re increasing support for people in immediate crisis as well as helping those at risk build a more secure future.”

HSBC UK’s head of financial inclusion and vulnerability, Maxine Pritchard said: “If you are feeling worried about your finances you’re not alone – and getting help and advice early can make all the difference. Together with Shelter we’ve helped thousands of people experiencing homelessness rebuild their lives, and now we’re working to help more people and communities build financial resilience and access meaningful support before they reach a crisis point.”

The partnership includes funding for greater emergency help measures, as well as expanding existing Shelter programmes with digital and in-person services to help people build financial health. For example, pilot projects have started in Birmingham and Lancashire, targeting intervention in local community settings such as warm banks, GP surgeries and even football clubs. They are expected to reach over 3,000 people who are at higher risk of homelessness, such as single-parent families, marginalised people and people with complex needs.

Added Pritchard: “Getting on top of your finances can take time, but there are actions everyone can do to improve their financial health whatever their financial situation may be. We stand ready to help, and the important thing is that people understand and feel comfortable accessing information and support in a way that works best for them.”

If you’re an HSBC UK customer and want to find out more about supports and tools available, get in touch directly via phone, mobile and web Chat, in a branch, or online at www.hsbc.co.uk/help/money-worries/

To donate to Shelter’s Winter Appeal to support vital advice and frontline services, visit www.shelter.org.uk/donate

Shelter emergency helpline operations manager, Nadeem Khan’s top five tips on easing the pressure of housing problems:

  1. Making a start can make all the difference. Whatever the housing pressure or problem you face, if it’s affecting your or your family’s health, take the first step towards getting help by visiting www.shelter.org.uk/get_help
  2. Respond to letters and phone calls: It’s natural to want to keep your head down and hope your renting worries will go away but it’s important to read everything your landlord or letting agent sends to you. Keep a record of every letter and phone call.
  3. Find out your rights as renter. If you’re living in a rented home that isn’t up to scratch, find out what your landlord should be doing to address poor conditions and disrepair by visiting our website.
  4. If you’re falling behind on your rent or at risk of losing your home, get advice straight away. There may be things you can do to improve your situation. For example, you may be able to claim housing benefit to help pay the rent. Find out more by visiting our page on benefits and money problems.
  5. Your mental health matters. You can get specialist help with mental health issues from charities like Rethink Mental Illness and Mind, or by speaking to your GP.

Notes to editors:

  • Total sample size was 3,237 adults with housing costs in England. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd - 4th January 2024. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all England adults (aged 18+).
  • Adults with housing costs include people who rent privately, rent from a local authority or housing association, own with a mortgage or pay rent to friends or family.
  • The estimated population figures are calculated by Shelter using Census 2021 data on the number of adults aged 18+ living in households that pay housing costs. There are 29.8 million adults in England living in households that pay housing costs.
  • 66% of people with housing costs report experiencing at least one housing pressure in the last year. This includes: struggling to keep up with rent or mortgage payments, having to cut back on household essentials to keep up with rent or mortgage payments, worrying about eviction, poor insulation or excess cold, damp or mould in their home or health and safety hazards in their home (e.g. faulty wiring, fire risks, gas leak or animal infestations).
  • Full data relating to adults with housing costs below. Figures relate to all adults in England with housing costs unless otherwise stated.
Statistic % of adults Est. number of adults (million)
Struggling to keep up with rent or mortgage payments in the last year 21% 6.3
Worrying about eviction in the last year 10% 3.1
Cut back on household essentials, such as food or heating, to keep up with rent or mortgage payments in the last year 39% 11.7
I have been kept awake at night / struggled to sleep as a result of housing pressures in the last year (Base: All England adults with housing costs who have experienced one or more housing pressures) 56% 11.1
I have felt hopeless as a result of housing pressures in the last year (Base: All England adults with housing costs who have experienced one or more housing pressures) 49% 9.6
I have felt anxious as a result of housing pressures in the last year (Base: All England adults with housing costs who have experienced one or more housing pressures) 70% 13.8
I am worried that my housing pressures are going to get worse in 2024 (Net: agree) 40% 12.0
I know where to get help for my housing pressures (Net: disagree) 30% 8.9
I want to take action in 2024 to alleviate my housing pressures (Net: agree) 41% 12.1

About Shelter:
Shelter exists to defend the right to a safe home and fight the devastating impact the housing emergency has on people and society. Shelter believes that home is everything. Shelters expert advisers offer vital support and advice to millions of families who are enduring the immense harm caused by housing emergency. Learn more at www.shelter.org.uk.

About HSBC UK:
HSBC UK serves over 14.75 million customers across the UK, supported by 24,000 colleagues. HSBC UK offers a complete range of retail banking and wealth management to personal and private banking customers, as well as commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates. HSBC UK is a ring fenced bank and wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc.
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 62 countries and territories. With assets of $3,021bn at 30 September 2023, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.