Posted on 11th October 2019

Research shows homeowners are breaking golden 28 percent ‘rule’ when it comes to mortgage payments

UK house

Just under 40 per cent of the UK’s homeowners are committing more than a third of their salaries to purchasing their properties, a new survey has revealed.

Household debt is at an all-time high. However, despite this over stretch people are still willing to take this risk to realise home ownership and house improvements.

This goes against recommendations centring around the 28 per cent rule, which states that you should not dedicate more than this amount of your gross monthly income on your rent or mortgage.

The research found that when it comes to consumers’ investment in home improvement projects there is a close split between cash and credit. People are paying cash for 55% of the cost of modifications and improvements to their properties, and reaching for their credit cards, bank loans and financial schemes as a way of funding the remaining 45%. While they are using debt to pay for upgrades to their homes, it’s seen as in investment for their futures and those of their families.

These figures emerged from a major research project undertaken by leading marketing communications agency Cogent, in conjunction with Ragdoll Research, to investigate the UK home moving market. The attitudinal segmentation of UK home movers uncovers the key reasons why people move and the behavioural psychology behind the spending decisions they make.

The result of this project is the ‘Moving Minds’ report which introduces the UK’s home mover categories, or tribes, delves into the psychology behind the mindsets that influence their purchase behaviour and explores the opportunities this presents for brands.

Psychologist Professor Richard Crisp of Durham University, who contributed to the ‘Moving Minds’ report, was not surprised by the relatively large financial commitments people are making in relation to their homes.

He noted that: “When it comes to our sense of identity, our homes are absolutely key. They satisfy deeply centred drives toward safety and security, they are the culmination of life goals and aspirations, they are the stylistic expression of who we are, and they provide the psychological scaffolding that enables relationships to grow. With such immense psychological value, people’s willingness to invest in them is quite understandable.”

Cogent’s Moving Minds report is available via The project was developed in conjunction with Ragdoll Research, while also engaging Professor Richard Crisp, Head of Psychology at Durham University. Moving Minds provides brands with the opportunity to look at home mover targeting from a fresh perspective that will help unlock significant value from their marketing investment.