A growing number of former homeowners have been returning to renting, it seems. One in 10 (10%) new rental tenancies this year were taken out by former homeowners, according to new research by Hamptons.
The estate agent says many are looking to rent as a “stop-gap”. Perhaps it’s a short-term solution until more buying options open up, or people are “trying before they buy” in a new area.
In June though, Hamptons also reported that renting was now cheaper than owning for the first time in six years, in terms of average monthly payments.
What you pay per month, whether it’s rent or mortgage repayments, is just part of the picture of course. And renters face many problems – from the frustrating lack of opportunity to save for a hefty mortgage deposit (because not everyone has a high salary, ‘bank of mum and dad’ or a partner to split costs with) to coming across a nightmare landlord.
But while there’s much we’d love to see improved about renting in the UK, we still wonder if now could be the time for a sea change in how we view renting. After all, the twists and turns of pandemic have had an ongoing impact on our incomes and lifestyles.
Renting has always been seen as a ‘lesser’ option. Something you do while you’re young and ‘on your way’ up the ladder towards the society-approved goal of homeowning. For some of us though, it might actually be a better option than buying. Here are some reasons why…
1. Buying might not be what you really want
There’s so much pressure to buy, and everyone deserves to work towards that goal if it’s what they really want. But it’s so easy to be swept along with expectations and ticking the boxes society has built for us. Is buying what you really want right now?
2. Are you ready for that level of debt?For many people, a mortgage is a whacking great debt. Handouts, inheritances and big salaries make it easier, but for people who have none of those things, there’s going to be a lot of saving and a lifetime of debt involved in owning a home. Could we benefit from spending a bit more time weighing that up, rather than always thinking buying is best?
Sure, some people buy then later rent their home out, giving them flexibility to switch things up – but for the large part, buying is a big commitment to being in one place. There’s a lot to love about settling in a forever home and that might be your goal. For others, freedom and flexibility might be the bigger appeal – and that’s a worthy consideration and valid priority. It’s your life.
4. Renting could leave room for other savings goals
Unless you’re on a high salary, savings towards buying a house might mean making the choice to sacrifice other things. That might be travelling, retraining for a career change, or even affording to have a child. Maybe these other goals actually mean more to you than getting a mortgage?
5. You might be happier and healthier overall if you rent
If buying a home means your only option is to move to an area with no quick access to nature, far from all your friends, and having to live in a property which really does not appeal aside from the fact it’s all you can afford, is that really what’s best for you?
Renting might mean a way better quality of life, and we can’t overlook the importance of that on our health and happiness.
6. You might learn to redefine success
We live in a world with rigid ideas of what being a successful adult should look like. Bottom line, everyone deserves a shot at the traditional happy-ever-after and homeownership if that’s what they want. But we also all deserve to define success on our own terms. Ticking that homeowner box might not be it – and learning to forge our own paths and embrace our own wins brings big rewards in itself.