Has owning a home become an unattainable dream for the 699 Folkestonian 28 year olds?

Posted: 27/03/16 11:19 AM


My parents bought their first house in the 1960’s when they were in their early twenties. Interestingly,IMG_7675 looking at some research by the Post Office from a few years ago, in the 1960’s the average age people bought their first house was 23. By the early 1970s, it had reached 27, rising to 28 in the early 1980’s.

This year alone, 699 people in Folkestone will turn 28 and 763 in 2017 .. and dare I say 738 in 2018; year in, year out the conveyor belt carries on .. Where are young Folkestonians going to live?

Ask a Folkestone ‘twenty something’ and they will say they do not expect to buy until they are in their mid thirties – seven years later than the 1980’s. Some people even say they will never be able to buy a property and the newspapers have labelled them ‘Generation Rent’ as they are people born in the 1980s who have “no hope” of getting on the property ladder. One of the major problems facing young Folkestone people is the large deposit needed to get a mortgage .. or is it?

The average price paid for an apartment in Folkestone over the last 12 months has been £150,100 meaning our first time buyer would need to save £7,505 as a deposit (as 95% mortgages have been available to first time buyers since 2010) plus a couple of thousand for solicitors and survey costs. A lot of money, but people don’t think anything today of spending a couple of thousand pounds to go on holiday; the latest iPhone upgrade or the latest 4K HD television. That amount could soon be saved if these ‘luxuries’ were foregone over a couple of years but there seems to be an awful lot of peer pressure on “Generation Rent” to be seen to be spending.

Official figures, from the Office for National Statistics, show the average male in Shepway with a full-time job earns £605.60 per week whilst the average female salary is £388.30 a week, meaning, even if one of them worked part time, they would still comfortably be able to get a mortgage for an apartment.

I was reading a survey report commissioned by Paragon Mortgages from the autumn of last year. The thing that struck me was that when tenants were asked about their long term housing plans, some 35% of participating tenants intend to remain within the rental sector and 24% intended to buy a house in the future, with the proportion of respondents citing the “unaffordability” of housing as the reason for renting privately increasing from 69% to 74%.

However, time and time again, in the starter home category of property (ie apartments), nine times out of ten the mortgage payments to buy a Folkestone property are cheaper than having to rent in Folkestone. It is the tenant’s perception that they believe they can’t buy, so choose not to.

Renting is now a choice. Renting enables some tenants to upgrade to bigger and better properties and move up the property ladder quicker than their parents or grand parents (albeit they don’t own the property). Over the last decade, culturally in the UK, there has been a change in the attitude to renting so, unless that attitude changes, I expect that the private rental sector in Folkestone (and the UK as a whole) is likely to remain a popular choice for the next twenty plus years.

With demand for Folkestone rental property unlikely to slow and newly formed households continuing to choose the rental market instead of purchasing a property. I also forecast that renting will continue to offer good value for money for tenants and recommend landlords pursue professional advice and adopt a realistic approach to rental increases to ensure that they are in line with inflation and any void periods are curtailed.

 

Data Sources:
Numbers of moving age from the Post Office
28 year olds – Census
Salaries- Office of National Stats for the Local authority Area


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