‘Generation Rent’ is taking over the London property market

Out with mortgages, in with dickhead landlords

London makes extravagant demands of all of us.

Official figures released today state that private renters outnumber homeowners in the city for the first time in ten years. It’s the tipping point for our generation.

New data from the Government’s English Housing Survey, shows that private rentals account for 898,000 households in the capital. This is double the number of privately rented homes in 2003/04.

The concerns that an entire generation of young people are being priced out of the housing market are ceaselessly amplified and reemphasised. There are reports about unattainable megahomes with two cinemas, incredible empty apartments in the Shard and the hidden, exclusive world of Russian klepto-properties, which add to the prevailing feeling that everyone who isn’t a millionaire is quite fucked.

According to the experts, Generation Rent is stuck because we’re earning less, while house prices climb. London house prices rose by more than 9 per cent last year, and the average house is now valued at £536,000.

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The experts don’t take into account how much easier it is to break up with someone if you’re both renting, but I guess that’s a difficult benefit to turn into numbers. That’s also ignored in a new PwC report, which says London will transform from a city of homeowners to a city of renters within a generation.

“That the number of under-34s renting has doubled in just ten years, while half of all home-owners are under-occupying, highlights just how intergenerationally unfair our housing market has become,” said Ashley Seager, co-founder at think tank The Inter-generational Foundation. “Unless the Chancellor takes more action to cool buy-to-let investment further and property-hoarding by older generations, young people will increasingly be left out in the cold.”

Perhaps the transition from a city of owners to a city of renters is not quite as apocalyptic as Seager suggests: generations of Germans had no difficulty building Europe’s strongest economy without owning much property. Only 43 per cent of Germans owned homes in 2013. 

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