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UK Millennials Still Prefer Renting Property over Buying

Despite unemployment rising across the board and massive house price inflation, a new survey has found that UK Millennials are still more likely to opt for renting over buying. The survey – conducted by the building and property portal HomeBuy – also found that 44% of young people are satisfied with renting property compared to 32% who are happy with buying.

HomeBuy analysed the survey results to understand millennials’ attitudes towards buying property. They found that more than three-quarters (78%) of millennials believe that it’s important to have an incentive to stay in a property, which is followed by a quarter of them (24%) who thought the main benefit of buying property was to avoid paying rent for as long as they could.

However, renting property remains more attractive to millennials than buying property. The survey showed that only one in five UK Millennials (20%) would consider buying a home over renting a property over the next year. When looking at home ownership in the long term, around six out of ten (61%) of millennials believe they would choose to rent for the duration of their lives.

While there has been a long-term increase in renting, most millennials are not interested in buying a home. Unlike the Baby Boomers and Generation Xers before them, millennials have historically seen owning a property as the pinnacle of achievement, and it seems that they want to be able to do this in comfort. Whether buying or renting, the vast majority of millennials are happy to be fully involved in the process and have the ability to make their own decisions.

The survey also revealed that many millennials find renting property to be ‘un-home-like’, with 55% saying they feel uncomfortable around strangers, and half saying they are often disturbed by noise or a stranger. Only 29% said that they can feel at home in a property, with 41% admitting that the house is often messy and disorganised.

The ONS’s Take

While the overall preference has switched slightly towards buying a home for young adults over the last couple of years, the percentages of young adults who prefer renting over buying remains high, and especially in the major cities, those older than 25 years of age would prefer to rent, according to the latest Nationally Consistent Longitudinal Household Survey from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The ONS said that this has to do with a few major advantages offered by renting.

Despite the low percentage of people in long-term accommodation, particularly young adults, renting offers advantages such as flexible management and maintenance, quicker negotiation with the landlord, and being able to pay for maintenance and improvements to the property rather than having to pay out a large amount of money upfront.

Housebuilders have been forced to slash prices in a bid to ease the housing shortage. However, this has resulted in the cost of renting having increased, which has led some millennials to choose renting over purchasing, and long-term commitments, rather than short-term commitments, as being better in terms of lifestyle.