Why more and more young people are choosing to rent
It wasn’t so long ago that the prospect of owning your house seemed an almost inevitable step on the path to being a fully-fledged adult, a chance to put your roots down somewhere and begin building a life free from messy shared kitchens and food that mysteriously disappears overnight. But times have changed, and home ownership has dropped to just below 64% across the UK, the lowest level for thirty years. And for those who do manage to get on the property ladder, over a quarter are relying on family or friends for a deposit.
The trend towards renting doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon, so what are the reasons for the slump? The most obvious one is that house prices in cities with good job markets are often extortionately high (Cardiff being a notable exception), which leaves twenty-somethings facing the choice of buying a house further out from the city, or renting somewhere closer. Add this to the fact that young graduates are burdened with student loan debt, that choice is usually nothing more than an illusion for the overwhelming majority of young people.
But while housing prices are undoubtedly the biggest obstacle for most young people to overcome when looking for property, there is an emerging school of thought that sees renting as a genuine alternative to buying, which marks a shift in attitudes compared to previous generations. Renting does provide young people with significantly more flexibility than owning a house, making it easier to change jobs, as well as giving them the ability to move location at short notice if need be.
But perhaps the main change in attitudes is a not why aren’t young people buying, but why should they buy over renting?
The simple fact is prospective homeowners should realise is that the renting vs. buying debate is, in fact, too complex a subject, because the answer to the question entirely depends on individual factors, such as the cost of housing in your area, tax, insurance, not to mention how long you plan to live in your house.