A NEW HOPE?
If you read the recent articles in the media about so-called millennials blowing their income on extravagances rather than sensibly saving for a deposit on their first home, it would have been easy to assume these were the claims of some crusty, deluded Westminster politician.
But, as we all know by now, it wasn’t; it was a well-known high street estate agent which had issued a press release which, perhaps in hindsight, was a little ill-judged.
Not only did it come across a more than a little patronising, no doubt thousands of first-time buyers struggling with rising rents or stuck at home with their parents will have felt a sense of indignation that a significant player in the world of property could be so dismissive of their plight.
But amid all the ruffled feathers, Strutt and Parker did actually have a point. Well, sort of.
There are affordable homes out there…
An interpretation of their argument could be that there are still properties within the means of those prepared to make a few sacrifices or consider a new start in a different (cheaper) region of the UK – and, in all fairness, it’s true.
We’re by no means the largest of estate agents but, if you take a little time to scroll through the properties page on our website, you’ll see that we have sold quite a few homes for under £100k and even have one or two available right now.
Admittedly, they won’t be south of Watford; they might not have a designer kitchen, an expansive garden or a smart en suite in the master bedroom. But the thing is every one of them represents a start; and, once you have a foot on the property ladder – as long as there are no dramatic changes in the economy and interest rates remain reasonably constant – it becomes a little easier to find the next rung .. and the next … and the next.
It’s true that few these days can afford a smart, executive three-bedroom home with a garage and gardens as their first purchase. In the south-east, even a two-bedroom terrace is probably out of reach of many aged below the age of 35.
But it’s wrong to generalise, be London-centric or to quash the hopes and dreams of a generation by telling them repeatedly via the mass media and the property press that home-ownership is simply beyond their grasp. It isn’t; not entirely – at least not yet.
Waiting for Wednesday
And that’s why Wednesday’s Budget could be crucial. The Government is making the right noises; Mr Hammond has even let it be known he wants to see 300,000 new properties built every year to tackle a crisis of the lack of supply.
But, if that’s to happen, then controls will need to be in place to make sure developers build the right kind of home. After all, 300,000 more four and five-bedroom executive properties are not what we need and Mr Hammond and his Westminster cronies need to do all in their power to ensure that’s not what we get.