Owning your own home is a desirable goal for many people. However, over the last few years, property prices have kept on rising most of the time, putting the home-owning dream beyond the reach of many.
Home ownership has fallen in percentage terms and a higher proportion of home owners than ever before are aged over 65. First-time buyers are getting older and some despair of ever being able to buy a property.
Meanwhile, the rental sector has grown rapidly, fuelled in part by the rise of the buy-to-let landlord. In many ways, we’ve become more like our counterparts in other European countries who have traditionally rented, as do the citizens of other major cities like New York.
The housing white paper issued by the government in February, was entitled “Fixing our broken housing market” with good reason. To broaden UK housing options, the white paper proposes a shift away from the historic focus on home ownership, emphasising instead the alternatives such as the construction of more rental property, multi-tenure house building and family-friendly tenancies which are two to three years long.
Although the proposals have been well received, they are unlikely to come to fruition for a few years, so if you’re considering your property options, how do you decide whether to rent or to buy?
Renting gives you flexibility, as you can move to another location and rent a different type of property pretty much to suit yourself. But it does mean that you aren’t building up valuable equity in your own property as you would if you had bought it. Owning means that you have the satisfaction of knowing that at some point, if you keep making the repayments, you’ll own your home outright.
DO THE SUMS ADD UP?
There’s lots to think about if you want to buy. Saving the deposit is really only the first step. You’ll need to be able to show a potential mortgage lender that you can manage your money competently and that you can comfortably afford the monthly repayments now, and in the future.
You’ll need to think about the costs of buying including legal fees, any stamp duty you’re liable for, property surveys and costs associated with moving. When you own a home, you’ll need to find money for council tax, utilities, maintenance, furniture and home improvement costs too.
Whilst buying a home may be a major goal for many, the chances are you’ll have other ones too. You should also think about contributing to a pension plan, saving for major financial outlays like having a family or starting your own business.
If you’d like some help about establishing your financial goals and planning how to achieve them, then get in touch.