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Will ‘generation rent’ ever be able to buy?

Updated 22 December 2022

2min read

Nick Green
Financial Journalist

Are we a generation unable to buy, destined for a lifetime of high rents and casting green-eyed glances at our homeowner friends? Not so, says Catherine Thurtle.

Two silver keys with red house figure

Among friends and myself only a handful of us have been able to buy a property. Bearing in mind that most of my friends are well-earning professionals in their late 20s to mid 30s, this is a sorry situation, which we moan about regularly.

And we’re not the only ones. New research from housing charity Shelter backs up my own anecdotal experience. Apparently, the average single person in their twenties will now have to save for over 14 years before they have a deposit large enough to buy a home. In London it’s almost 30 years! Further to this, young couples with children will need nearly 12 years to save enough for a downpayment.

Some 52 per cent of more than 8,000 people interviewed thought that renting rather than buying will become the norm within the next generation, marking an increase from 46 per cent when the same question was asked in 2011.

“I decided to stop moaning along with friends and take steps to proactively make buying my own home a reality”

So, how can we speed up this neverending process? Should it be accepted that renting is becoming the norm?

Early next year we’ll see the introduction of the government’s Help To Buy scheme, which will join the already-launched New Buy initiative aimed at helping homeowners who cannot afford large deposits. Despite this, the majority of the 20- to 45-year-olds questioned in a recent survey* are either unsure how government efforts to help first-time buyers can ease the struggle to buy a house, or do not think it will help.

Is it off to the bank of mum and dad? What if that isn’t an option? I decided to stop moaning along with friends and take steps to proactively make buying my own home a reality. Taking a look at my day-to-day and monthly spending was an eye opener. I started quickly by using a savings planner to get me in the right mindset. The next step was speaking to a professional financial adviser. You may be surprised at how much more money you may have access to but you’re not utilising. Or even potential in savings that have been languishing in a poorly-managed account. She helped me to get my finances straightened out enough to see that it wasn’t hopeless, I just needed to have a guiding hand and a bit of a stern talking to when it came to some of my more “frivolous” Friday night spending…

>>>Find a professional adviser in your area.

Are you having problems getting on the property ladder? Tweet us your concerns or comments @unbiasedUK

*According to a survey by Halifax

By Catherine Thurtle

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About the author
Nick Green is a financial journalist writing for Unbiased.co.uk, the site that has helped over 10 million people find financial, business and legal advice. Nick has been writing professionally on money and business topics for over 15 years, and has previously written for leading accountancy firms PKF and BDO.