Renting for life

More than a third of Britons renting their homes believe they will be doing so for life, according to a new survey.

Research by Halifax and YouGov found that 4 in 10 people currently renting believe they will never own their own homes. Around 3 in 10 told the pollsters it was ‘normal for people to do so for life’.

More hopeful

The younger generation are more hopeful, with only 14% of 18-24 year olds believing they will never break out of their rental lifestyle.

In contrast, 33% of 35 to 44 year olds accepted renting as the norm and 28% believed they would never own their own place.

First-time buyers

But despite this pessimistic attitude, the number of first-time buyers in the UK has more than doubled in the last 10 years – from 72,180 in the first half of 2009 to 170,060 in the first half of this year.

In that time the average age of the first-time buyer has risen slightly from 30 to 31 and more than half of all mortgages are now being taken out by this age group – the highest ratio since 1995.

First step

Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: “Taking that first step onto the property ladder remains a rite of passage for many.

“Last year, first-time buyers accounted for the majority of the mortgage market for the first time in well over 20 years.

This shows that with the right support and a few sacrifices, home ownership can remain an attainable goal.

Financial hurdle

“The financial hurdle of saving enough for a deposit might feel like a daunting or at times near-impossible task, but there are a number of options out there, including government schemes and family support mortgages, to help put first-time buyers on the right track.”

The two biggest hurdles, according to the poll, were affordability and saving for a deposit.

Affordability

The rise in property prices and the relative stagnation of wages has left would be home-owners facing an ever-widening gap between the two. It is a problem made more difficult by the Mortgage Management Review which forced lenders to make sure their customers could afford their repayments should interest rates start to rise.

The problem of scraping together enough cash flor a deposit to secure a mortgage has been another major problem.

Paying rent on a home while trying to save for a deposit is beyond the means of many and an increasing number of young couples are forced to remain living with their parents until they raise enough cash to take that all important first step.