When youre 10y/o you seem to think that you have life figured out. You’re an idealist to say the least and I imagined to have a house, kids and maybe a puppy by the time a quarter of a century comes around. And for some people perhaps that is exactly how life works. However, for me – unfortunately life had some other plans.
I feel like the general working class generation, particularly kids of the 80s got really screwed. House prices went up, tuition fees tripled, brexit, recession and the list goes on. Basically we got f**d over. And this really makes me angry.
My husband and I both come from families who have lived in London council houses all thier life and we both wanted nothing more then to have a space of our own. Once we were married we rented a very small box one bed apartment with the worst neighbour downstairs for a horrendous amount of money. Practically one person monthly wage. It was depressing to say the least. I hated it and I quickly went into a severe sad and negative state. One wage would go to rent and the other would cover the costs of the food shop and general London living expense. Hpw were we ever going to save? Now prior to moving out I hadn’t saved nearly enough to buy a property, expecially not in London and living with family as a couple just wasn’t an option. All those times I’d come home with Topshop and Zara shopping and my mum said ‘save your money, you’ll need it in the future’ kept coming back to me. Mother, maybe you should’ve have clarified. No, but in all honesty I wish I had saved more. We stopped going out, started making more meals at home (which wouldnt have been so bad if our kitchen functioned properly) and shopped for the necessities. I felt really guilty every time I purchased anything.
So we rented for 15 months and then I just had enough. £18k spent on rent and I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t bare paying someone elses mortgage for a property with tempremental water/heating.
We decided we were going buy. How and where, we had no idea. But in my mind even if it was a hobbit hole, as long as it was mine. We looked for a long time and I was being really picky (even though I literally couldn’t afford to be) I wanted a 3 bedroom house with a garden and a little picket fence, close to work, close to an underground station – preferably the Central line – close to my mums, close to a primary school if we had kids. Unrealistic as ever, especially with our budget.
I moved back to my mums and the other half went back to his mums. Our search contined until we came across the idea of New Build flats. I never wanted to live in a flat. I wasn’t keen on hearing someones footsteps above me. But I had to give in as houses were/still are out of our price range. The rate house prices are going at London at the moment, to afford a 3 bed house in a decent location we’d both have to be earning £50k pa minimum and have £50k to put down.
We came across these new builds which were 20mins out of London, more or less Essex area but still counts as London. Sort of. And the company was offering a 20% first time buyers loan. Which basically meant that they pay 20% of the property value to the bank and then you have 5 years interest free to pay them back. For example £250k flat, the government pays £50k and you’re left to pay 5% deposit along with stamp duty and solicitors fee. Which was a little bit more realistic for us.
The only issue was, we were going to buy something we’d never seen. The property hadn’t even been built yet and we were basing it on a show room. However after all my failed attempts elsewhere, this seemed like a now or never option. So we paid.
9 months later I got a call that the flat was complete. I went and it was perfect. A good size for 2 people and most importantly it was mine. I’m not paying someone’s mortgage.
I completely get that if I didn’t have a partner it would be harder and not everyone has the luxury of living with thier parents for a while to save.
One day I’d like to think that London property prices will reduce so that we can move back. I’m a city girl through and through…this suburb life isn’t for me.