As rentals rise let us learn from Europe

JAMES SHERWOOD-ROGERS
JAMES SHERWOOD-ROGERS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, QUEST

With a recent Halifax study reporting that two-thirds of 20 to 45 year olds believe they have no prospect of buying a home, the focus on first-time buyers and their difficulties continues to hit the headlines.

The market share for first-timers decreased for the second consecutive month in April.

The average age of a first-time buyer is now 38 and according to Moneysupermarket.com, average deposits are 23% of a property’s value, making it tough for anyone making their first purchase.

With figures like this, it is no surprise that many are renting but is it too early to start drawing comparisons with our European counterparts, where renting is more common than purchasing?

Germany has the highest proportion of individuals renting property, with almost six out of 10 renting their home. There are a number of reasons for such high levels, like strict lending criteria and increasing land and property transfer taxes.

There is also an abundance of rentals available to Germany’s population from private investors, housing associations and private housing firms.

A rental index can be accessed to ensure monthly premiums are transparent, long-term lettings are easy to arrange and there is more flexibility on personalising rental property compared with the UK.

With affordable housing in short supply and other factors making it tough to buy, our European neighbours may provide a source of best practice that we can learn from.