For a lot of young people, placing a foot on the housing ladder is incredibly tough, if not near impossible. Sky-high prices mean most twenty-somethings have little chance of pulling together a deposit on even a modest property – some even need help to rent!
It has always been the case that you save, save, save in order to get your first home. But back in the 1980s £3,000 was enough to get started and most of us could manage that.
Hike up that deposit to £20,000 or £30,000 now and you can see why a growing number of 20-45-year-olds are deciding that buying bricks and mortar may be out of reach.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing down the years; eye-watering double-digit interest rates forced some of us to temporarily abandon holidays to keep on top of mortgage repayments on our little terraced houses.
Fast forward 30 years and generation rent are increasingly giving up hope of ever owning anything – even with the government offering the tax-free help-to-buy Isa.
But is that an altogether bad thing?
Don’t want to be saddled with crippling monthly repayments? Want the freedom to travel the world and find work when and where you need it?
Then don’t buy a home.
A 29-year-old in our family has just returned from eight months wandering around South America, with another month spent crewing on a millionaire’s yacht.
Now he’s applying for jobs with 12-month contracts – so in a year’s time he can pack his rucksack and head off again to India.
And who can blame him, or the thousands of other young people wanting a life rich in experiences, if not material gain?
The housing market needs a shake-up. If enough people decide they don’t want to play by the current rules, maybe we’ll end up with a system similar to mainland Europe. In Germany only 39 per cent of the population own their own homes, compared with about 60 per cent in Britain.