British obsession with property ownership

There is an obsession amongst the British with owning their own home. But recent figures suggest that for the first time in a generation home ownership has decreased over recent years and is continuing it’s decline as more people look to rent a home instead. for some reason there appears to be a bit of a stigma attached to renting a home particularly if you have a family. For some people owning their own home is imperative and not owning your home is almost sen as a failure.

This is unfortunate because the number of homeowners now stands at 65% of the population and this number is falling fast. On current form the number of us that will own our homes will drop to just under 50% by 2041. Our obsession with home ownership is not shared by our European neighbors who shun home-ownership in favor of renting. In Germany only 45% of people own their own home and this falls to 14% in the capital Berlin.

Home ownership considered a measurement of prosperity

In the UK home ownership is seen as a measure of national prosperity but the dream of owning your own home is becoming ever more distant even with the current incentive schemes that are being offered by the government.

The Help To Buy Scheme which has so far helped over 17,000 first time buyers get on the housing ladder is also pushing up house prices to unaffordable levels. Home ownership is a relatively modern concept. You only have to look to the Victorian era when four out of five properties were tenanted. Back then we were a great nation of tenants.

There are many advantages to renting a home. Moving is much easier and much cheaper. You are not responsible for the upkeep of the house and can call the landlord when the dishwasher breaks down. You don’t have to pay for buildings insurance as this is the landlords problem. Of course the tenant doesn't’t benefit from house price growth but just because the market is booming at the present time that doesn't’t mean that prices will always grow.

With house price growth also comes the affordability for many would be buyers particularly in London. People could not afford to live in London if they had to buy. It is simply too expensive. Whereas a 2 bed flat may cost £400k to purchase it may only cost £2,000 per month to rent which could be split between two tenants. Probably the biggest advantage of renting is that you can move by giving a months notice.