Since the turn of the millennium, there's been a continuous swing away from ownership as more and more people turn towards the private rented sector. However, with interest rates at an all-time low and lenders loaning as much as five times a person's income in some cases, times are changing: buyers' confidence has returned.
In recent years at least, there hasn’t been a better time to become a homeowner. House prices are on the rise – dramatically in some areas – and it’s prompted those sat on a healthy deposit into buying before prices rise even further. Even those with little savings are being helped, with the Government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme enabling people buy with as little as a 5% deposit and a lender offering a mortgage to cover the other 95%.
Rightly or wrongly, we live in a country where property owners tend to be given a higher status within society than those who rent. It was once said that “an Englishman’s home is his castle”… although we’re sure we can adapt that to include Welsh people too. But, while current market conditions are good, as with anything, it all boils down to personal circumstances.
The culture attached to homeownership in these isles certainly doesn’t exist in a lot of other European countries, where renting is regularly considered to be the more sensible and cost-effective way of living. It also offers much-needed flexibility to those with financial and living arrangements prone to change, though doubters will still point to the ‘rent money is dead money’ argument.
As we know, the ideal scenario is to buy low, sell high(er), and move onto something better, but, as mentioned, that simply isn’t an option for some. As a result, there isn’t a straightforward answer to the question originally posed, so we spoke to four Cardiff professionals who have this decision to make.
“My fiancé and I are currently in the process of buying for the second time, and we’ve accepted an offer on our own house.
We’re planning to start a family in the near future and were originally intending to upsize after our wedding, but after noticing the amount of ‘Sold’ boards going up on our street, we decided to put our house on the market sooner rather than later. It was only on for a few weeks before we accepted an offer at the full asking price, and not long afterwards we found the perfect three-bed semi with a huge garden.
Our new house is a lot closer to our family and much bigger than what we’ve got at the moment, although I’m sure it won’t be long before she’s filled it with bags and shoes!”
“I’ve always lived at home with my parents, but it’s recently dawned on me that it’s time I fled the nest. I’ve never been a big spender, and I’ve worked always worked full-time since leaving school at 16, so I’ve managed to save a fair bit of money along the way.
I’m wary that now is a good time to buy, so I’m registered with all the local estate agents and have Rightmove setup to e-mail me with newly-marketed properties everyday, but I’m quite particular with the area and type of property I’m looking for, so I’m not going to jump into something and settle for second best.
I’m lucky in that I’m in no great rush and flexibility is on my side. I could do with a bit of independence, which is what buying will give me, but I can always get that from renting somewhere with a friend, and continue to save for a bigger deposit in the process.”
“I moved to Cardiff as a student and lived in houses of all different shapes and sizes whilst studying. It made for good experience as I knew exactly what I wanted to live in when I went into full-time work: a modern, spacious flat away from the typical student areas and, most of all, away from a large group of housemates! There’s only so long you can live with four or five others before you need your own space.
I bought a two-bedroom flat just under a year ago and was lucky enough to benefit from my mum’s financial help when it came to paying the deposit. We were able to pay off a large sum of the sale price from the get-go, meaning a small loan-to-value mortgage and considerably lower monthly repayments than other people I know.
The repayment amounts mean I’m not reliant upon renting out the second bedroom, but I think I will eventually – probably to a friend – if only for a bit of company.”
“My boyfriend and I currently rent together, but neither of us is originally from Cardiff, so we’re allowing ourselves the option of upping sticks and moving closer to family at some point in the future. We’re both in jobs that would allow us to transfer elsewhere, so we’ve always got that move available to us.
Our monthly rent is around the same as what our mortgage repayments would be, so we’re no worse off than we would be if be owned our own place, apart from having somewhere to call our own – but there more important things than that.
Renting gives us the flexibility to move to a better area for a cheaper rent every six-to-twelve months, if we wish, so we think of it as trying before buying. We also don’t have to concern ourselves with service charges, upkeep costs and any maintenance work that may be required.”
Are you looking to rent or buy a property in Cardiff? If so, then please contact the team at CPS Homes so that we can help you find your ideal home, and keep up to date with the latest Cardiff property news on our blog.