01.02.18

A Gen Z perspective on homeownership

Imogen Kemp-Hunt

In a recent article on Generation Z our founder, Charlotte Steedman, said that ”Gen Z-ers see renting as a stepping stone to the ultimate goal of homeownership”. As one of the older members of this cohort, I know this to be true, and wanted to offer my own view on the rent/buy debate.

As a 22-year-old renter in central London, the prospect of homeownership is something I think about often, and I’m not alone. I recently carried out a Twitter poll and when asked whether their goal was to rent indefinitely or rent whilst saving to buy, 97% of respondents under the age of 23 voted in favour of saving to buy.

I am one of four girls in a rented house with the shared desire to become homeowners by the age of 30. Optimistic? Perhaps, but when I posed the question of renting or buying to my housemates the response was overwhelmingly in favour of owning a home, and when I asked why: ‘We don’t want to spend the rest of our lives wasting hard earned money on rent’.

This highlights a fundamental difference in spending attitudes between Millennials and Gen Z-ers, addressed by Jeff Fromm in an article for Forbes. Fromm claims that the millennial viewpoint of “it’s not worth it” has been traded in for a mind-set which says “you have to earn it”, something I relate to hugely. Where our millennial predecessors were hesitant to spend on material goods, valuing experience over ownership and thus more open to renting as a long-term option, we are happy to spend money on something that we have worked hard for and see buying a property as a difficult but achievable goal.

Growing up in a recession has caused Gen Z-ers such as myself to have a practical approach to living, another key driver in our quest for home ownership. My personal desire to buy comes not only from a want for stability, but from the knowledge that buying a home is an investment for the future.

As it stands, getting on the property ladder by the age of 30 is a hard and sometimes impossible task, which is why building affordable houses for the next generation of homeowners needs to start now.