Wednesday, 13 September 2017


I was recently talking with a landlord couple who are clients of mine, and we got chatting about how the youngsters of the UK seem to rent more than buy nowadays and that even included their son, a young adult himself now, and they couldn't understand why it was that they would choose to rent rather than buy.

Their son, like many 20 to 30 year olds in Milton Keynes, desperately wants to own his own property and the parents said he had read in the press recently, that when you compare house prices to earnings, the current 20 to 30 something’s generation have to spend more of their salary in mortgage payments than any previous generation. The demand for private rental sector accommodation in Milton Keynes is huge. There are in fact now over 13,400 private rental properties in Milton Keynes at the last count, impressive when you consider there are 6,923 council houses in the town. However, let us not forget 35,982 properties are owner occupied (24,167 with a mortgage).

Let us all be honest, private renting doesn’t have the stigma it had a few decades ago and it might surprise people that even though the British class ourselves as a nation of homeowners, roll the clock back 100 years and over 75% of people rented their own home (and it was all from private landlords as council housing only started to come in with the ‘homes for hero’s’ after the first World War).

Looking at the affordability issue, it is in fact cheaper to buy a property than rent when one looks at starter homes for first time buyers. 95% mortgages have been available to first time buyers for over 5 years now and whilst you could certainly find better properties in better condition in better areas, small starter apartments can be bought for as little as the early £90,000’s in the Walnut Tree area of Milton Keynes (meaning a modest deposit of just under £4,500 would be required).

However, there has been a cultural attitude change towards renting property in Britain and this quiet revolution is likely to be permanent. In the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, saving for the deposit was everything and buying a house was everything. Youngsters today have far much more disposal income than people had in the Callaghan and Thatcher years, but choose to spend it upgrading their mobile phones every 12 months, the newest tablet or PC, a newest 50” LCD TV and two sun drenched holidays a year, than go without and save for a deposit. Job mobility plays another part in not rooting young people to one location any more, as a job for life is no longer the norm as it once was.

Yes, there are horror stories of tenants living in rat infested properties with landlords who charge massive rents and don’t repair their properties. But that is very much the exception as most tenants want to rent homes of a quality they couldn’t ever to afford to buy. Twenty years ago, if you said you rented a property, you were considered the lowest of the low ... but now it’s the norm and a lifestyle choice.

So with mortgage affordability being well within the bounds of most first time buyers, the level of deposit required for a 95% being surprisingly modest (starting off at c.£4,500 in Milton Keynes as mentioned above) but as we change our attitudes the UK housing market is slowly but surely turning into a more European model, where people rent for long periods of their life, then eventually inherit their parents properties and subsequently become homeowners themselves, albeit later in life and these days often not before their mid 30's.

I cannot see the demand for decent, high quality rental properties ever dropping in the next 10 to 20 years, but only ever increasing as the population continues to soar. Just make sure you by the right property, at the price, in the right location. One source of information on such matters would be the Milton Keynes Property Blog and of course the advice I can give you if you speak to me.

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Milton Keynes Property Market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Milton Keynes, out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it, then feel free to get in touch! Email me at

If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office we are based at 181 Queensway, Bletchley, MK2 2DZ -the kettle is always on.

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  1. This was an interesting read however I feel that you have not actually understood the challenges of millennial/generation Y. There is no denial that they are tech savvy and own the latest gadgets. There are no more 100% mortgages like we had in the past, the cost of accumulated debt from higher education is also a disadvantage. Surely doesn't this affect their chances of saving a deposit unlike previous generations? Previous generations had support from family to purchase homes however the recession which affected their parents doesn't allow enough wealth to be passed on. The rate of home ownership dwindles by each generation. Our current economy is a ripple effect of past decisions, hence why it is unfair to make one generation look bad! Sincerely A millennial

  2. I would also add that it still isn't always a "choice" to continually rent. My husband and I have 4 children between us and so size of property is essential. We rent a property which takes up a substantial amount of our income, which in turn means we are unable to save for a deposit to buy our own home. I know this to be the case for many others as well. 5% on a property that is big enough for our family means a deposit of close to £20k which would take us a lifetime to save!

    I actually think there needs to be more done here too. When you look at house prices, you mention 50, 60's 70's etc when house prices were no where near what they are now - granted salaries we also a lot lower but that meant deposits were nowhere near what is needed now.