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First-time Buyer

Britain moving to a German housing model

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

More than two thirds of UK renters have no plans to buy a property, an indication that Britain is moving towards a German housing model with a greater percentage of the population renting. 

Research by landlord insurer Direct Line for Business found that of the estimated 17 million renters in the UK, 70% – or 12 million adults – don’t intend to become homeowners.

Home ownership statistics from Eurostat place the UK ahead of only Denmark, Austria and Germany in terms of the proportion of owner-occupied dwellings.

The study said the average price paid by first-time buyers in 2017 was £207,693, more than 50% higher than five years previously when the same property cost on average £138,663, an increase of nearly £70,000, or £1,150 every month.

While affordability is cited as a reason for people thinking they will not be able to buy a home, a fifth of those not looking to buy don’t want the financial commitment that comes with owning a home.

For others, the attractiveness of not owning is flexibility, with 9% wanting to be free to travel and 8% not wanting to be tied to a local area. Over a fifth (22%) of those not planning to buy think the cost of maintaining a property is too high and would rather have a landlord deal with any issues that may arise.

Christina Dimitrov, business manager at Direct Line for Business, said: “The UK housing market continues to change and we are seeing a major attitudinal shift when it comes to renting. While price is a factor, many people are increasingly comfortable with the flexibility afforded by renting a property rather than jumping into home ownership.”