How we've royally screwed the next generation over property

The young have little chance of owning a property. And it's our fault

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How we've royally screwed the next generation over property

The cost of buying a home has rocketed by more than three times the average salary over the last 10 years alone. Rents are soaring too, in fact Shelter has called them 'out of control'.

And as I sit here in a house I own, I know that we have really screwed over the next generation. We're desperate to keep property prices high and rising, because we see our homes as a pension pot or we want to escape negative equity.

Buy-to-let landlords are raising rents and cashing in on the housing shortage. It's almost like a big conspiracy to keep the next generation off the ladder AND make it hard for them to save.

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Of course, if they are managing to save then we've screwed them there too. Base rate is low so that we can afford our mortgages, so first-time buyers can't even earn a decent rate of interest as they save up a deposit. There is, of course, the new Help To Buy ISA but while that may help current would-be buyers, it risks supporting a further hike in prices for the next crop of aspiring homeowners.

In fact, it's not even the next generation. The housing market has changed so fast that my family is a perfect illustration. My older brother bought a house to live in and a buy-to-let property around seven years ago.

I wasn't so lucky – six years ago I bought my first home and then found myself with around £20 grand of negative equity, which I have been gradually repaying. But at least I have the security of a home I own.

Then you come to my younger sister. Despite earning much more than I did at her age, she'll need savings of around £30k before she can start thinking about buying. I bought my first home with a 5% deposit paid by the builder.

Of course, it's not just the Help To Buy ISA help being offered, there are still equity loans available at very good rates, including five years interest free. But I suspect that even this is another way in which we are screwing over new buyers.

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There's a compelling argument that this scheme will make the problem worse. Instead of allowing supply and demand to lower house prices, we're desperately buoying them up by making it easier for new buyers to pay higher prices.

I can't shake the feeling that our leaders are helping existing homeowners and builders at the cost of the next generation. And maybe, just maybe, we've already screwed them over enough.

Some experts predict that many pensioners will use their new freedoms to invest in buy-to-let properties. But it's worth remembering that there are many other ways to invest money, such as via peer-to-peer lending or stocks and shares.

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