Three quarters of renters say they can’t afford to buy

Three quarters of UK renters say they can’t afford to buy their own home, new Rightmove research has found.

In a poll designed for renters, we asked Rightmove users what their main motivation for renting was – and the results showed that 75% of respondents are tenants because they cannot afford to buy.

The four other options, I want to live close to work (10%); I don’t know where to buy (10%); I enjoy the renting lifestyle (3%); and I enjoy living with friends (2%) all proved to be less significant factors.

Rightmove’s Rental Trends Tracker for the first quarter of 2019 highlighted that London’s average asking rents have increased by 8.2% in the last year, with the average rental property in the capital now averaging a record £2,093 per month.

Demand is also outstripping supply, with the number of available rental properties in the capital down by 33% compared with two years ago, while available rental stock has dropped 13% for the rest of Great Britain.

Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside said: “Saving a deposit to buy your own home, alongside all the other expenses of modern life, means many people feel trapped as a renter. This survey clearly shows that whilst renting is a lifestyle choice for some, it’s the only fall-back option for many.

“Unfortunately, renters are part of an ever-evolving ecosystem that has seen some landlords exit the sector due to more onerous taxes. That only makes saving for a deposit even harder. There are some initiatives like ‘Build to Rent’ that are helping increase rental supply, but it does not help those who wish to buy. The irony is that with interest rates so low, buying can stack up well against the costs of renting if you can get over the deposit hurdle.”

As explained in Rightmove’s Rental Trends Tracker, the government’s introduction of higher stamp duty on second homes purchases back in 2016, combined with other tax increases, has seen an ongoing trend of decreasing activity from investors in the buy-to-let market.

Tom Ayres, 32, who’s been renting in the capital for ten years, added: “I started renting when I moved to London for work around a decade ago, and as a graduate, it was out of the question that I would have bought back then. But as the cost of living in London has steadily increased, even as my career has progressed I’ve found it’s been really hard to save enough for a deposit. I’ve lived in at least eight rental properties, but like most people, I want to own my own home one day. I’m only renting while I wait for that to become a reality.”

The upcoming Tenant Fees Act will cap rental deposits to five weeks of rent in England, making the cheapest deposit in the North East at £630 and the most expensive in London at £2,415.

*All data was taken from Rightmove.co.uk and 1,033 users took part in the poll.


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