Thirteen and Chamber of Commerce research to help retain students in North East and get them onto housing ladder

Housing group Thirteen and the North East England Chamber of Commerce are to help North East England students get on the housing ladder with practical help such as the best financial product to use to buy a first home.

Students Chamber Of Commerce Research

29 Nov 2016

The move comes as the Chamber and Thirteen Group publish a new report, Laying the Foundations, which found just a third (33%) of young people in the region were comfortable they knew what a mortgage is and how it works, and just a quarter (24%) were comfortable with credit scores and how they work. The issue also impacts on the future supply of skills in the region, with almost six in ten (57%) students and young people surveyed suggested they would leave North East England upon completing study.

The Chamber and Thirteen are today (28 Nov 2016) meeting with representatives of Teesside University and their Students’ Union to discover how best to reach out to students in the region and help them access the information they need to work towards homeownership and building a career in North East England.

Chris Smith, Group Director of Business Development at Thirteen, said: “Housing is a critical issue for North East England, linking closely to the region’s ability to retain its skilled graduates and drive growth in the economy. Through working with Teesside University, we’re hoping to get a first-hand insight into the aspirations of students and their plans for the future.

“There are some great, innovative homeownership products already on the market, and others being developed – it’s then about making sure the homeowners of the future know what they are, and how to access them.”

Professor Mark Simpson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) at Teesside University, added: “We know how important high quality housing and accommodation is to attracting students to the region, and the same is true for attracting and keeping graduates here when they join the workforce.

“More than three-quarters of our graduates leave university and go straight into the world of work. We give them the skills and expertise they need to prepare them for their chosen careers, and we welcome the opportunity to be working with Thirteen and the Chamber to help prepare them for homeownership as well.”

In Laying the Foundations, the Chamber surveyed its members and their employees, as well as students and young people in North East England to examine attitudes to housing in the region and explore some of the barriers to home ownership.

The level of deposit required and access to a mortgage were seen as the most significant barriers to home ownership, with businesses pointing to the availability of low cost and affordable homes as an important factor in talent attraction and retention.

Ross Smith, Director of Policy at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “Being able to access a skilled workforce is crucial for businesses in North East England, and something we see consistently rank highly among our members’ concerns. Improving housing quality and boosting homeownership are a vital part addressing those concerns, especially when it comes to keeping our graduates in the region.

“With North East England adding jobs faster than anywhere else in the country, it’s great to be working with two Chamber Partner members to do the groundwork needed to make sure that growth can continue and our businesses will be able to access homegrown skills in the future.”