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SPECIAL FEATURE: Generation rent reaches 45

Robyn Hall

September 18, 2013

In the past, despite ones career trajectory, people generally expected to own a property by the time they turned 25- years of age.

How laughable such a notion seems nowadays particularly as a recent survey conducted by LV= put the average age of a first-time buyer at 36-years old.

Its research gauged how young people are now perceiving the current housing market.

Of those surveyed 44% of LV=’S younger respondents, an age range defined by LV= as between 20 and 35-years old, said that they would be content to continue renting in the long term rather succumbing to buying a property.

One of the points that became abundantly clear while reading the firm’s results was just how apathetic young people feel about renting a property nowadays.

Whereas in the past the rent cut off age was 33-years old, where it was no longer deemed acceptable to continue renting a property, today that age has risen to 45.

But can we blame them when according to Halifax house prices have risen 428% since 1983 and in recent years real wages have remained stagnant and not kept pace with house price inflation.

They may be incentivised to quit the renting game given the amount of money they hand over to their landlords each month.

LV=’s results showed that 30% of tenants’ monthly income is spent on rent and in London that figure could be even higher.

So why are younger people delaying making that giant leap onto the property ladder?

LV’s survey alluded to several reasons: deposit affordability (62%) and less favourable mortgage available (33%) are, unsurprisingly, the most popular reasons but perhaps one of the most intriguing points focuses on younger peoples’ overall list of priorities.

Starting a family and owning a property at a young age was used to be customary; it was after all a sign of success and more highly esteemed than following a prosperous career path or going to university.

These days things are different. The majority of young people indeed head to university in order to pursue a rewarding career then chase high-paying graduate jobs once they’ve received their diplomas.

Those more fortunate may even take a gap year and travel the globe in search of adventure and reinvention.

Owning a home and being laden with high mortgage repayments just isn’t as high a priority for younger people these days.

They feel like they still have much of their lives to lead before they’re burnt out by the burden of family planning and mortgage repayments.

The responses from the survey highlight this: 41% believe it’s not critical to own your own property throughout your lifetime while 18% don’t want to be tied down with monetary issues at all.

Worryingly even the government’s new Help to Buy scheme hasn’t motivated respondents to at least consider owning their own property – 79% remained ambivalent to even entertaining the idea.

The fact is most young people nowadays prioritise their careers and standard of living ahead of owning their own home or even starting a family.

Once they’re settled in their careers and feel like they’ve achieved their more adventurous ambitions, travelling or working abroad, buying a property may then creep into their minds.

In any case most young people feel priced out of the market and are unable to save for a deposit so who can blame them?

For the moment if they prefer to rent so be it. Unless more is done to educate and encourage younger people to invest their money in bricks and mortar they’ll be renting for many more years yet.


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