Ten years ago I was sixteen and my biggest worry was having enough money to buy cigarettes and Lambrini on a Friday night. Fast forward a decade. While I may have a finer taste in wine it seems my anxieties have also matured. I no longer fret over wearing the same outfit twice – let’s face it an occasion to dress up arises so infrequently that I can get away with wearing the same outfit at least three times before anyone notices – and it isn’t an issue if I wear flip flops without painting my toenails. Oh no, now I’m a mother I have much bigger fish to fry like getting on the goddamn property ladder and buying a home!
I’ve rented for what seems like forever and it’s never really been a problem. Some people feel it’s throwing their money away for me I’ve just been thankful for my own space. I left home quite young – just before my eighteenth birthday – and while it was my own choice it didn’t give me many options. Once you start paying rent it becomes increasingly difficult to save money. The less you manage to put aside the less chance you have off securing a mortgage.
According to the English housing survey, in 2014-2015, the majority of first time buyers were twenty five to thirty four years of age. While this may be reassuring – at least I’m not the only twenty six year old to not own their own home – I still find the whole subject pretty daunting. The prospect of reaching thirty four and only just obtaining a mortgage terrifies me. I’m under no preconceptions that I’ll be retiring at sixty five – by the time I start getting a state pension I’ll probably be over seventy – but knowing you’ll be paying your mortgage into your sixties has to be a pretty bitter pill to swallow.
Back in the sixties homes cost on average £4,000. Fair enough the salaries were less (around £11,000) but buying a home still cost less than the average annual salary. Compare this to 2010/11 when annual incomes were just under £25,000 yet the average price of a house was over £210,000. That’s more than eight times the average annual salary!
I imagine our story is similar to many others. Stuck paying rent which would probably be the same if not less than our mortgage repayments, while struggling to save the money needed for our deposit. I’ve always hoped that one day we would own our own home but until Rory arrived it was never a major concern. While the house we rent is lovely, it will never be a home. As Rory grows we will never be able to paint his bedroom and we live with the dreaded insecurity that comes at the end of our contract.
Growing up Ryan lived in the same house all his life. His brother was born in that house and his parents still live there now. As much as it is only bricks and mortar, it is the family home. Hosting birthdays and Christmases, it’s a constant backdrop for family life. And it’s what I want.
The next couple of years will be difficult. Were on a strict time limit to buy before Rory starts school – the dreaded catchment areas! It’s going to be tough missing out on holidays and cutting back at Christmas but it’ll be worth it in the long run. Most days it feels a million miles away, like we’ll never reach our goal, but with perseverance I really hope we do.
In the meantime I’ll continue to pin all my hopes on the lottery and keep searching Rightmove for the dream home!
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