I’m going to go against everything you’ve ever been told and I’m going to make a case for not buying a house. If that doesn’t interest you, you can click off here. But if you’re a fellow millennial struggling to wade through today’s difficult climate, I know you hear me.
We’re told at every angle, in every tone, that we have to be buying a house. If we’re not buying a house, we have to be thinking about buying a house. Whilst it is good to get on the property ladder if you can, buying a house is a decision. It might seem like an unwritten rule or something you have to do but it’s actually your choice. And there are plenty of reasons why you might not buy a house.
For some, buying is a pipe dream
Not to be captain obvious but for some people buying a house is a pipe dream. Not buying a house is practical. The market has changed. The cost of living, let alone houses, went up thirteen times as fast as wages did. That’s just a fact. If you are currently renting and paying your own bills and can’t get a helping handout from your parents, it’s not something you can even consider for a moment. But that’s okay. If it’s not financially doable, it’s cool to consider it later when it is.
Location location location
Where we can afford to buy might not be where we want to be. A lot of people could afford to buy pretty much anywhere in the UK that isn’t a major city. Not buying a house in a crap area for you is a good decision. Buying somewhere for the sake of buying and hating your area is not a good decision.
The problem is, at least for a lot of people I know, we’re in cities making money. Salaries are a lot better in London than the rest of the UK. If you want to live elsewhere and can afford to buy a house, definitely give it a think over. But if you want to live in a city like London or Bath, house prices are mad. I know there’s talk of how living and renting in London is frivolous because it’s expensive but you can bet that the people telling you that don’t earn the London wage. It kind of balances out.
As for the property market, it’s ten times harder to get on the ladder. But you don’t actually have to settle and wreck your career just to own property – especially if you don’t want to move away. Not buying a house somewhere you don’t like is okay. Stop letting people tell you otherwise.
Quality of home
Because the property market is so crazy expensive, the houses young people can afford to buy are never breathtaking. Let’s be honest. Most of us have seen what our money could buy and we don’t fancy it. And that’s okay. If you don’t know how to improve a fixer upper, you don’t have to. If you don’t think you can stand to downgrade house for a few years, just to own somewhere, you don’t have to. Where you live and what you live in is important. Quality of home is so important, that’s where you spend a lot of time, it’s what you come back to after a long day. If you don’t like it, it can change your whole mood. If your money can rent you a 10/10 house but only buy you a 5/10 house, that’s a decision you have the right to make.
Not buying an alright house to rent a really nice one is okay.
Quality of life
Say it with me, what do we want? Quality of life. When do we want it? Now. If you love your city job and wage but buy a house out in the sticks, that’s a long commute on your hands. Time is so precious, you can never get it back, and if commuting doesn’t sound like quality of life, that’s okay. If you want good takeout at any time of day, that’s your call. If you want good transport, that’s cool. If you want a quiet spot in the country, that’s cool too. But you’ve got to be able to answer what quality of life means to you before you buy a house. If you find more quality of life in your rental that’s alright. Not buying a house you might be miserable in is a good decision.
Other things to save for
If I’ve successfully eased your mind – and your conscience, about not getting on the ladder, good. Drop the ladder. Walk away from the ladder for a bit but don’t stop saving. Even if you never buy a house, savings are good for so many things. Buy that thing you’ve had your eye on. Save for a rainy day. Book a holiday whenever you fancy it. Money is security even if you don’t put it into bricks and mortar.