Suddenly, out of nowhere, all of my friends are buying flats and houses. Houses. Not Lego ones. Real ones made from bricks.
I say ‘out of nowhere’ but of course to them, it’s come out of months of hard work. Months of stressful meetings with mortgage advisors and banks, months of daily proof that estate agents are Satan in pointy loafers sent to test us, months of scrimping and spreadsheets, tense debates with partners in unfamiliar coffee shops and weighing up which they care more about: having a postcode that doesn’t make them weep a bit every time they type it into Amazon, or a bedroom that doesn’t also double up as the kitchen.
It’s a pretty amazing feat, to have managed to get onto the first rung of the property ladder despite the ladder basically, these days, being covered in butter and starting halfway up an icy mountain inhabited by wolves – and I am chuffed for them. Not least because I plan to enjoy barbecues in their gardens all summer, and stay in their spare rooms when I can’t be arsed to dust my own.
No, I mean ‘out of nowhere’ for ME – because I had kind of assumed we would all just rent forever. For those of us who are only just getting round to keeping our money in an ISA rather than our wardrobes and the pockets of local bartenders, this late-20s property splurge is a scary twist in the millennial tale. It’s the bit in the dream where everyone has secretly studied for the exam except you, and then you realise you are naked and everybody points and laughs, especially Sarah Beeny.
I thought that instead of finding ways and means to invest in bricks and mortar, we were all going to just keep renting and spend our money on elaborate brunches and crowdfunding cool new apps. Wasn’t that the plan, guys? Guys? GUUUYS?
But hey, it isn’t all doom and rising damp for tenants. For every “renting is just throwing money away!!!” (to which the official retort is always: “god you’re RIGHT, so will you give me 30k for a deposit?”), there’s a broken boiler we don’t have to fix, and stamp duty we don’t have to pay. And while no other options are open to us, we may as well look on the bright side of being Generation Rent – because if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry.
Here are some reasons to be glad you’re not on the property ladder yet.