Want a house? Give up the good life
When it comes to houses, the usual story is that young people today are entirely to be pitied. Lenders are stingy, prices are stratospheric and wages are low, goes the argument. The poor little urchins have to make sacrifices their parents never did.
Kirstie Allsopp, the television presenter, disagrees. In a recent interview, she claimed that first-time buyers have always had to give up some luxuries.
“Young people are slightly losing the concept that you make sacrifices to get on the ladder,” she said. “They want to go to university, they want to travel, they want to eat out frequently and they want to buy their first flat.” Allsopp has previously said that when she acquired her first mortgage she was earning a wage of around £12,000, buying pizza and lipstick as treats just once a month.
“On my 21st birthday, interest rates were at 15 per cent. It has never been, and never will be, easy.”
Is this right? We asked other broadcasters and property experts how they got that difficult first foot on the ladder, and how young people today can make it easier for themselves. I agree with Kirstie (Spencer’s co-presenter on Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location). We’re not used to waiting for things any longer. My parents’ generation stayed at home with their parents when they were married and then saved up for a house, but now we don’t even bother to queue for things. People think that if they can’t have something immediately, they should move on. I wonder if lifestyle hasn’t become a greater priority than property ownership.
I took a big risk with my first purchase. I invested in a scheme where I had to find a way to live for a year while I converted a house into flats. As it turns out, I’ve never done a better deal; it was the equivalent of jumping two rungs up the property ladder. My first house cost me £23,000 back in 1986, and I was delighted to secure a mortgage fixed at 15 per cent for two years! So, it was costing me about £290 a month, which with current low interest rates is the equivalent to payments on a £140,000 house these days (just below the national average). But wages were
Ownership has never been easy: Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp