Is Britain falling out of love with home ownership?
Across the UK the order of ‘things’ has been fairly rigid for the last few hundred years. It’s a simple pathway; get a job (and stay with the same employer until retirement); get married; buy a house. However, today’s reality is quite different - and you don’t have to be a sociologist to spot it.
The current generation are more likely to ‘job hop’ across not just employers but also careers. In fact, recent research suggests nearly half of millennials plan to leave their job within two years.
Official statistics show that since 1972 there has been a ‘long-term decline’ in the number of marriages of opposite-sex couples.
Yet the general consensus around home ownership has remained constant. From a young age, people are told of the importance of buying their own home. However, Landbay’s research suggests the enthusiasm for this may well be waning as the majority of private tenants aren’t interested in buying a home.
The figures speak for themselves. Overall just 42% of renters are keen to buy in the near future – a surprising statistic that is perhaps more closely associated with our European neighbours, where renting is the norm.
Offering insight to landlords on the wants and needs of their tenants, our study delved into the psyche of 2,000 private renters in the UK. Analysis shows a notable gender discrepancy – with 47% of women keen to buy a home compared to just 34% of men. Another key differentiator is age – something overlooked in the private rented sector (PRS).
We know that older people love the flexibility of renting and Landbay’s research really backs this up. Just 13% of over-55's are interested in buying a home. Surprisingly, less than half of those aged 35-44 are keen to buy in the near future, while 64% of millennials (aged 25-34) want to buy.
Geography is another factor in our research and yields some interesting results. Despite the high costs associated with buying in London, 47% of those in the capital are keen to buy – the highest across the UK. Interestingly, this compares with just 37% of people in the South West and Wales – areas with much lower prices.
Flexibility shines through as a key positive of renting, with 25% of renters saying this is the reason why they don’t want to buy.
For landlords, this insight could prove very useful. Nobody wants good tenants to move out and this suggests more of them could stay for longer. In short, renters don’t have the itchy feet that many might have us believe and remember, longer leases reduce those dreaded void periods!
This research once again highlights the need for more investment in the PRS as more people look to the private sector for housing. It also begs the question, what use is Labour’s ‘right to buy’ policy if renters have no interest in doing so? Any future government needs to stop penalising landlords and talk up the sector and its importance.