Unable to buy a property?
We Brits are obsessed with buying our own homes in the 21st Century, but this hasn’t always been the case. It was actually Margaret Thatcher’s Government that made people feel the need to invest in bricks and mortar- prior to her 1979 Right to Buy Scheme, where people were encouraged to purchase their council properties, still over half of people rented. London Bridge estate agent, Williams Lynch explains. “Certainly 100 years ago home ownership was seen as a luxury that only the very well to do could even consider and it remained that way until at least halfway through the 20th Century. The excitement and economic boom following WW2 led people to start thinking more aspirationally, and by 1970 there was a 50/50 split between homeowners and tenants.” Thatcher’s Right to Buy scheme nine years later was met with as much scepticism and anger as it was enthusiasm, but nobody can deny it changed the way the nation thinks about their homes.
It might be a disappointment to her to see that we’re now in a situation where it’s almost impossible for first time buyers to even consider buying a property in London unless they’re exceptionally wealthy. M&M Property says, “The average annual rental cost in the capital is now £15,000 less than a mortgage- that’s a huge 46% percent.” While a rental property can never quite give you that same sense of security and “home” that you get from owing your house, it’s a choice that the vast majority of millennials are now forced into.
London has always been the most expensive part of the country to set up home in, but plenty of other large UK towns and cities are catching up. Aberdeen, Brighton, Bournemouth and Cambridge have all seen huge hikes in property prices over the past year, with young people finding it impossible to get a foot on the ladder.
It’s easy to get weighed down in the doom and gloom of how elitist home ownership is becoming, so let’s look at the positives of renting instead.
Renting a property means you’re not tied down for as long as you’re likely to be if you own your own home. Most rental agreements allow the tenant to give just a couple of months’ notice before moving out, meaning you’re free to go wherever your life, work or dreams take you.
It’s less expensive when things go wrong
Burst boilers and structural problems can strike fear into the heart of even the most seasoned property owner, and it’s always wise to have some reserve funds available should anything go wrong. The beauty of renting is that if something big happens it’s almost always the landlord’s responsibility- all you’ll ever need to worry about is a little inconvenience rather than a gaping hole in your pocket.
You can still make it your home
The current property market means that buy to let landlords are often looking for long term opportunities to see their money grow, and a regular rental income is a great way to do it. Lawsons & Daughters explains how- “If you can prove yourself to be a reliable, trustworthy tenant who always pays on time and looks after the property, you could easily live there happily for years.”
So, if you’re finding it impossible to get a foot on the property ladder remember that could actually be a good thing. Attitudes are changing, and as long as a house is happy there’s no reason at all why you can’t proudly call it your home- no matter who’s name is on the deeds.