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What is the Attitude of Society – Rent or Buy?

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

In today’s fast-paced world of property, it can be difficult to know whether to rent or buy. So, how does society deal with the property market?

Why are more and more of us, particularly millennials, choosing to rent rather than buy a house? Is it only because of house prices, or are there more reasons behind this choice?

We take a closer look at the attitude of society towards the property market.

The property conundrum

Where does the dilemma around whether to buy or rent stem from?

With property prices the way they currently are, i.e. unaffordable to most, there really isn’t a way around renting.

If you don’t have a 10-20% deposit saved up (as the average house price in the UK is £225,956, you would need a deposit of £22,500 - £45,000) how do you get on that property ladder? (If you’re in London that figure rises to £609,776, requiring a deposit of £61,000 - £120,000).

Also, starting salaries for graduates are anywhere between £20,000 - £30,000 per annum.

So how is someone who’s just starting out in life expected to save for a deposit? Is it possible to own a home by the age of 25, or perhaps even older?

Consider too, the lack of real-term wage growth and it should come as no surprise then, that the majority of first time buyers can’t buy without significant help from their parents, and that the average age for first time buyers, across the UK, has risen to 30.

But, despite this, is Generation Rent a choice at the same time?

Help to Buy

There are schemes out there to help people get on the property ladder.

For example, the government has introduced ways to help first-time buyers, who don’t have the benefit of financial assistance from their parents, such as the Help to Buy scheme. The scheme allows first-time buyers to get equity loans on new builds, thus reducing the size of deposit that would be required.

There is also shared ownership - where households earning less than £80,000 outside of London, and less than £90,000 in London, can buy between 25-75% of a home, and rent the rest.

So, why aren’t these schemes being used more?

Why do millennials spend instead of save?

The bad news is, that no matter which way you approach it, there is going to be some saving of money required. Which means, for the next generation, who have easy access to certain types of money (payday loans, low interest rates and great finance deals) living the lifestyle they want, is affordable in the short term.

But in order to get on the property ladder, something has to give. You can’t have it all while trying to pay rent, eat and save up for a deposit for a house. Also, the average millennial earns 8% less than their counterparts did in 2008, before the financial crash.

So, people choose not to save. It appears that millennials have actively chosen instead to live for today, rather than plan for their financial future. It seems the ‘Why rent when you can buy?’ mentality has been somewhat forgotten.

Is it better to rent or buy?

There’s no hard and fast answer to the question ‘Should I rent or buy?’ But, it’s easy to see why many are choosing to rent.

With so much stacked against them, who can blame others for choosing to spend their money on tangible items such as holidays, cars and rent? Saving for a distant (or non-existent) property simply often feels impossible.

Generation Rent is here to stay.

Need help navigating the world of renting? Check out our more of our renting advice.. But, if you are hoping to get your foot on the property ladder, find out everything you need to know about the process with our buying a home advice

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