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Why We're Not Stressing About Getting On The Property Ladder

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Why We're Not Stressing About Getting On The Property Ladder

Over the past year, the UK property market has experienced a serious boom. Fuelled by the slashing of stamp duty tax - and the pandemic shifting people's priorities - casually swiping properties Rightmove has all but replaced scrolling Instagram as the nation's favourite pastime.

So you'd be forgiven for feeling a little anxious when it feels like everyone you know is getting on the property ladder - even if it becoming a homeowner isn't part of your immediate life plans.

Then there's the added stress of saving during a global pandemic. How do people do it?

Scrolling through Rightmove is becoming as much of a pastime as swiping through Instagram (Credit: Shutterstock)
Scrolling through Rightmove is becoming as much of a pastime as swiping through Instagram (Credit: Shutterstock)
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According to a study by Laybuy, a quarter of women under 40 worry about their finances daily, with one in five of us having no savings whatsoever.

Added to that, UK adults under the age of 25 cite worrying about their financial future as their number one concern - with money stresses topping health, work and family worries.

It makes sense then, that a study by Santander found 52 per cent of first time buyers say raising a deposit is the biggest barrier to them getting on the property ladder, while a mere 17 per cent said lockdown actually helped them save.

At present, the average house price in the UK stands at £256,405 - up 1.8 per cent since February this year. With owning your own home so unattainable for many, why is it such a priority? We chatted to three women who aren't in a rush to get on the ladder - and their reasons why make so much sense.

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Kate Barnet, 28, London

Kate, 28, lives in London with her boyfriend (Credit: Kate Barnet)
Kate, 28, lives in London with her boyfriend (Credit: Kate Barnet)

Kate lives in London with her boyfriend. Having a bigger property is essential for Kate, as she runs her pyjama business, Kate Barnét from her two bedroom flat. She explains she has no plans to buy any time soon, as owning a similar sized flat would be too out of reach financially.

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"I run my business from home, so if I was to buy, I would need a bigger property," Kate explains.

"At the moment, we've got a Wendy house and an outbuilding in the garden so there's so much space for stock. Buying a like-for-like property would be so out of reach and we're not even in central London.

"Being able to run my business from the flat is the major reason for me, so it's the space issue for us. It's much more cost effective to keep it in house rather than move to an office space, for example.

"I do get an overwhelming amount of pressure to get on the property ladder. But it's about being realistic of where you are now, and once you take stock of what you can achieve at your current point in life, it actually alleviates the pressure.

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"Renting gets a bad rep but there's nothing wrong with renting. There are so many benefits, like space and being where you want to live.

"My biggest pet peeve is when people say you're 'throwing your money away every month' - with the property prices at the moment, we'd only be saving £100 if we got a mortgage and I don't think that's going to make a massive difference to our lifestyle.

"The only way for us to buy is to grow our wages, which means growing the business and that means needing a place to run the business from."

Gerda Kirkutyte, 23, Manchester

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Gerda says she's in no rush to get on the property ladder (Credit: Gerda Kirkutyte)
Gerda says she's in no rush to get on the property ladder (Credit: Gerda Kirkutyte)

Gerda is a marketing executive living in Manchester with two of her friends. She says she's in no rush to get on the property ladder, and would happily only consider buying when she's much older.

"I'm from Lithuania and came to England five years ago," says Gerda.

"I've always rented since I moved. I have a lot of British friends who are wanting to own a house and I always think, what's that about?!

"I thought about maybe having a house in my fifties or sixties but I could never imagine saving up for a deposit now - I'm still a baby!

"With the whole pandemic, you can see that things can change so quickly, you don't know what will happen tomorrow, or next week. You might as well enjoy your life. Obviously it's not a bad thing to save but you shouldn't be obsessed over the idea of buying a house. Is this what your life is all about? Having a house?

"It's nothing compared to what you could actually do with your life. The prices are going up as well - but the wages aren't.

"In Lithuania, renting is the most normal thing. I have many dreams, but owning a house has never been one of them."

Skye Ferguson, 33, London

Skye doesn't want to commit to buying just yet (Credit: Skye Ferguson)
Skye doesn't want to commit to buying just yet (Credit: Skye Ferguson)

Skye is a freelance PR coach who lives in London with her two friends. She's always travelled, and feels buying a house in one place would be a huge commitment.

"I've always rented," Skye tells Tyla.

"I lived in Dubai for a long time on my own and when I came home from travelling last September, I moved in with two of my friends in north London. I'm not stressed about buying a house - for one thing, I love living with people, especially during lockdown - and I would hate to be tied down to one place.

"I think the whole idea of getting on the property ladder is a bit of an ambition passed down from our parents' generation. It would have been accessible to us 30 years ago but it's not anymore, yet somehow it ends up being one of the tick boxes of things you need to achieve in order to be successful by a certain age.

"I think I create a lot of pressure for myself when I see other people doing it. But it's not even just the saving for a deposit, actually having a mortgage and knowing how much I would be able to afford to borrow would massively hold me back too. I am single so I would be buying on my own which really limits what I could afford.

"Because I've travelled a lot, I also don't know where I would want to live. Buying feels like a massive commitment and it seems a bit scary, like something that would really tie me down to one place."

Featured Image Credit: Kate Barnet/Gerda Kirkutyte/Skye Ferguson

Topics: Life News, Home, Money

Lucy Devine
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