What I'm really thinking: the first-time buyer

Mon 11 Nov 2013

I try to be sympathetic when you talk about the stress of selling your London flat: the irritating viewings, the question mark over your £500,000 asking price. But I can't share your glee when you say it has doubled in value in five years.

Our flat is on the market, too, but we don't own it. Every day estate agents junk-mail our letterbox to tell our landlord how much more money he'd get if he kicked us out. But when our home is sold we'll get no big payoff; just more estate agents' fees and even higher rents.

Five years ago, when your parents helped you buy your home, I dreamed of getting out of a flat-share. Gradually I realised I'd have to give up on my dreams and change careers if I was ever going to get a place of my own. Now, at 32, I've saved thousands of pounds but that still isn't enough. Years ago, when I earned a pittance, the bank offered me a large mortgage. I thought they were crazy. If only I hadn't been so sensible. The people who bought then are now safely on the ladder. 

Even with the latest government scheme, our tiny deposit gives us the choice between buying a new-build shoebox in exchange for lifelong mortgage slavery, and the "freedom" of tenancy, with its insecurity, shoddy carpets, leaking ceilings, rising damp and towering rents. 

So spare me your tales of woe as you move ever further into your cosy landowning class. Try to remember that while you have so much, many of us have not.

Source; The Guardian

January 2017

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