Sunday, 18 December 2011

Is renting no longer the Cinderella of the property market?

Without a Prince Charming waiting in the wings, new research shows a surprising number of us no longer mind if we're not "rescued" from being tenants for the foreseeable future.

During the late Nineties and for much of the Noughties renting was the Cinderella of the property market as Britain became a nation of home owners, many of us keen to demote non-ownership to the basement of our ambitions – just like the pantomime’s heroine.

But such a steadfast belief in owning bricks and mortar is very much ‘behind us’ and with little or no sign of a Prince Charming waiting in the wings to implement a rescue.

Britain may soon be a nation of renters rather than owners, according to research published this week by Over a thousand young home movers were asked about their property plans and half of those canvassed said they didn’t expect to own their first home until they are into their 40s and 38% said owning a home ‘wasn’t critical’ to them, indicating how strongly the recession has influenced attitudes to buying a home.

Also, 26% of those who responded to the survey said they had ‘no issue’ with the prospect of renting long-term.

These trends have helped push up rents across the UK as demand has outstripped supply and the average for the UK is now £880 a month per property, the highest price for renting a property  ever recorded by

Rents are now nearly five percent more expensive than they were a year ago, pushed up by increasing demand for rented properties and fewer homes available – the time between coming on to market and being rented has reduced by 10% over the past three months. On average a rental property spends 45 days on the market – 13 days fewer than the same period in 2009.

And latest government data reveals how fast owner-occupation is therefore slipping, from 14.8m (71%) in 2005 to 14.5m (67%) in 2009-10 as mortgages have become harder to get and pay freezes more commonplace.

The irony of this is that more expensive rents mean it is now more expensive to rent than it is to buy. While rents have been rising, mortgage payments continue to plummet. Which make the challenges of finding a new home  far from the fairytale it once was.

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