The CML reports that first-time buyers are struggling to clamber onto the housing ladder.
With the cost of mortgage repayments as a percentage of salary reaching a 16-year high, it’s hardly surprising that wannabe homeowners are discovering that they just can’t afford to buy a property.
But with prices soaring to ridiculous levels, that’s no bad thing. The overheated property market doesn’t need more desperate people overspending on homes and pushing up the cost of houses and flats.
The need to own a home is a peculiarly British disease. There’s that hoary old chestnut about your home equating to your castle.
Is there any truth at all in that? Not in 2007. We are all citizens of the world. Budget flights mean we can afford to travel wherever we want and – why not? - work wherever we want.
Owning a home is simply a heavy responsibility that many people would be better off without. It simply brings misery and expense.
Homes – whether a new-build, an old castle, a 30s semi-detached – need costly constant maintenance. All of them do, without fail.
Rather than being the rising asset that some property speculators like to suggest, homes are a constant drain on financial resources. And it’s not just the financial costs that we should count, but the emotional and spiritual costs.
In simple terms, owning a home kills your spirit of adventure. The responsibility is a heavy drag on your imagination.
For instance, homeowners spend more time worrying about the effect of strong winds on roof tiles, than enjoying the joy of a blustery day.
Rather than opening the window on a beautiful morning and smelling the flowers, homeowners are more likely to check the window locks and alarms to ensure that their fortress will keep out sneak thieves.
Home ownership is not an ambition we should be encouraging. Rather than feeling sorry for potential first-time buyers who are doomed to forever be several thousand pounds short of a deposit, we should be celebrating their liberty.
They’re free from the massive debt that most homeowners choke themselves with. And they’re free from the terrible responsibility that comes with owning a property.
And – best of all – they’re free from becoming smug homeowners obsessed with property prices and how much their “little place” has appreciated this week.
If the overheated property market has one important benefit, it’s that it’s saving more folk from that sorry fate. And for that we should be thankful.
If you would like to comment on this story or speak to its author, telephone Simon Read on 0207 034 2680.IFAonline
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