Blaming millennials for lack of home ownership is 'unfair' and ‘misguided’, says 42-year-old renter Heidi Scrimgeour.
Statistics released today showed that the number of renters between 35-54 has doubled in ten years.
Almost half of 25-34-year-olds rented in 2017, but the 35-54 age group saw the biggest jump in renters, from 13% in 2007 to 26% today.
For the last twenty years Heidi and her husband have been renting, with the option for buying a house something they hadn’t even contemplated.
11 years ago they moved to Northern Ireland, where they still reside with their three children. In their lifetime, they’ve never really been able to afford a deposit and took the route of renting to pursue a life of flexibility.
“When we moved from London to Northern Ireland, there was definitely a sense that renting worked in our favour, as we could make the decision to go anywhere, we didn’t have to worry about selling a house or putting it on the market.
“We love that flexibility of renting and I definitely loved that feeling it gave me that I could go anywhere and do anything.”
Despite questioning their decision to not buy a house, Heidi is happy with the route they’ve taken as she feels like living in negative equity has its restraints.
“Yes, I admit I have real wobbles where I’ll think maybe we did this all wrong, but then having said that a lot of friends are in houses and in negative equity, so they feel very trapped by owning a house,” she added.
“Someone recently said to me, she envied our freedom because we rented. The beauty of renting is that when the kids leave home we can go where ever we want and we’re not stuck paying the mortgage on a house with too many bedrooms.
“A lot of my friends that did buy houses had a lot of help from parents or inheritance - I don’t know anyone who did it themselves.”
With the next generation of home-owners under increasing scrutiny to get on the housing ladder, it’s led the press to focus primarily on millennials.
The current economic climate has meant people aged between 20 – 35 are finding it increasingly difficult to afford buying their own property, even with the help of family in some cases.
Millennials spending habits are under constant criticism as they’ve been accused by some of prioritising luxury goods over saving for their futures.
“I just think they’re the first generation who haven’t been able to do it, and they won’t be the last.
“I think it’s a very narrow-minded way of seeing the issue, these avocado eating millennials who are spending all their cash on luxuries and not thinking ahead,” said Heidi.
“But it’s more to do with the rising housing costs and the cost of living, if I couldn’t have bought a house by the age that I am now, then I can’t see my kids doing the same between then and now.
“I think press coverage is very unfair and misguided, and I would like to see more about what can be done, rather than pinning the blame on millennials and how they’re spending their money.
“What is the future of housing? Can we think differently? You know, are there co-housing options or initiatives that could make home ownership possible for people who aren’t going to be able to get together a £20,000 deposit overnight?”