New research shows the number of home owners in the past decade fell for the first time in over 100 years, while the number of people renting properties has risen.
The study, carried out by the Office of National Statistics, reveals that high house prices, low wage growth and stricter lending requirements have left many with no option but to rent. This has aggrieved many potential home owners up and down the country. But is renting really that bad?
A lot of people dislike the thought of being a tenant, saying they want to have something to call their own, rather than give their hard earned cash to a landlord. Buying a property has always been considered an investment for the future: you buy a place, pay off the mortgage and in years to come sell it for a profit or leave it for your children to enjoy or spend it as you wish.
Furthermore, you actually own the property, meaning you are in control of any changes you wish to make (providing it complies to usual rules and regulations). Living by your own rules is very satisfying, while the knowledge that no one can evict you at short notice gives an enormous sense of stability.
However, things don’t always work out that way. Firstly, buying a house is very expensive and too many people financially ruin themselves by attempting to become a home owner. This is demonstrated by the recent concerns regarding interest only mortgages, whereby customers have been too optimistic about their ability to repay the capital at the end of the term, leaving them in financial dire straits.
Even if a home owner is able to meet the mortgage repayments that is not to say that he or she will make any return on their property. As the recession has shown us, house prices do fall, as does demand. This means it is not always possible to sell off this so-called investment, let alone make a profit from it.
Having a house can therefore, be something of a burden, and not just financially. If something breaks, it is the home owner who must fix it. Or if someone hurts themselves on the property, it is the home owner who will be held liable. All this differs to renting, where tenants can call upon the landlord to make repairs, while they need only give one month’s notice (or whatever is stated in the contract) if they wish to leave.
Thus renting and buying have different advantages and disadvantages. The right move for you will be entirely dependent upon your individual circumstances, with the amount of money, risk and responsibility you are willing to incur all being factors that will influence your decision.
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