Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Do I Really Need To Save For A Mortgage?

For years I have believed that getting onto the property ladder is what I wanted to do, but now I’m questioning it. Do I really want that to be my main goal in life?

Growing up with parents who bought their own home at a young age, I’ve always been advised by them, and by others as well, to save up money for a mortgage and buy my own house as soon as I can. So, listening to that advice, at the age of 19 and with my first half decent paying job, I began saving. Putting half of my wages away each time pay day rolled around. 

Fast forward to four years later, I am still saving – yet nowhere near having enough money in my savings account to put down a mortgage deposit on a house. The average house price in Birmingham is £167,000 – which compared to some places in the country, is ridiculously little – however, that figure is only going to rise in the coming years. Realistically I would need to pool my money together with someone else and then maybe we would have enough for a deposit and the monthly repayments. Alas, I have no one to do that with so the saving continues.

Right now, I’m definitely at the point in my life where I would like, and probably need for the sake of my sanity, my own space. A bedroom in my parent’s house just isn’t enough, I could probably afford to rent somewhere, but I’ve always been advised against renting if I can help it so it’s not something I’ve really looked into, yet.

After reading an article about house buying, whether we really need to do it, and the fact that renting is much more popular throughout Europe than buying is, I’ve been thinking more and more about my own situation. Renting gives you more freedom in a way, if after a while you decide you want to move elsewhere, whether that be for a job, a relationship or you just fancy a change of scenery, not owning a house is a bonus. You can pretty much just up and leave as and when you wish. Once you buy a house, you’re ultimately stuck there paying off your mortgage, and if you want to leave you either have to sell up or find someone to rent your house, which can be easier said than done.

I know full well that if I told people I was going to rent, I’d most likely be told I’m stupid, wasting my money and my time. “Why wouldn’t you just save up a little longer and get a house’?” is a question I imagine I’d get asked a lot, but it’s something I’m considering. Whilst part of me would like the security of my own home, do I really want to be tied down to once place for years on end? In reality, I want nothing more right now than to move away from hometown and experience more of what the world has to offer.

Another thing that’s on my mind is that fact that I am only 23. The average age of a first-time buyer in the UK is now at 30 (32 in London). Am I jumping the gun a bit, worrying too much about saving for a deposit and not enjoying my youth, or am I simply one step ahead of the game?

I’m not going to make any rash decisions, and I am going to continue to save a chunk of my wages each month because that’s what I’ve always done, but what I’m going to do with that money remains to be seen. At least it’s there and I have options. (Just as a side note, I realise how privileged I am to be in this situation at all and I greatly appreciate it.) I could go travelling for a few months, maybe more, or I could move away and rent a place somewhere, or I could I stick at what I’m doing for the time being and buy my own house eventually (something that sounds way too grown up to me right now). Ultimately, I’m torn between these options and for how long I will be, I don’t know.

I’d love to hear your opinions on the matter and what you did/are thinking of doing, so please let me know in the comments.

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