Why I fell in love with renting

Why I fell in love with renting

The narrative is constant (and irritating): When are you going to buy? How are you going to buy? Rental money is dead money... you've heard the conversations.

MoneyLens' Louisa loves renting

And then the media remind us of the figures:

  • The average age of a first-time buyer is now 31, up from 29 a decade ago (it was 23 in the Sixties);

  • The average first-time buyer needs to find a deposit of £33,339 (it was only £17,740 a decade ago);

  • The average first-time buyer price is £212,000

Of course the situation in London is even starker - the average newbie homebuyer needs to find £112,000 just as a down-payment.

Now a confession - I had to look up all those stats. Quite frankly, I don't care. It washes over me. And that's because I love renting.

For many Londoners signing the initial rental deposit is a moment of dread. For me, it's excitement. It means a new pocket of London is about to unfold, a fresh chance to explore another hub inside Europe's leading cultural capital city.

I relish the independence and opportunity from being a tenant. The lack of true commitment to staying in one place for an extended amount of time is actually something I feel fortunate to enjoy. Don't get me wrong. Renting does have its low points, which I'm sure we're all well aware of: estate agents, the odd bad mattress, the assortment of crockery missing the only thing you need - to share a few!

But what I enjoy most is the freedom to live in areas of London which you would never be able to afford if you were looking to buy. Or staying in places which you never thought you'd end up in, and may never be able to again.

My enthusiasm for renting is partly due to my realisation of how daunting it is to start saving for a deposit to buy a house. By succumbing to the idea that it will not be happening anytime soon and the prolonged future is focused on only being able to rent, I turn my head and decide I actually just want to enjoy London-life in my early 20s and not have the ever growing dark cloud of "you must be saving every penny".

The Social Mobility Commission recently published that the number of homeowners within the 25 - 29 age bracket has dropped more than 50% since 1990 despite the various government initiatives to help bridge that gap.

By renting it not only enables me to see many different London boroughs but also gives me the freedom to move jobs, move countries and enjoy not being restricted and tied down to paying a mortgage or imperatively spending money on a leaky roof or rotten walls.

We are, after all, the generation that's been told to adjust for the "100-year life". What's the rush?

I thought HuffPo blogger Charlotte Burns summed it up perfectly: Renting is not dead money, you're paying for freedom, flexibility and the chance to live in an area you couldn't afford to live in if you bought."

I couldn't agree more.


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