Times have changed significantly, once what was a rite of passage, owning a home, it has now been replaced with a rental economy, increased financial problems across the board, and depending on your location in the world, more taxes and an increased sense of anxiety. Where does this leave people in the modern world when it comes to owning your own home? Your house should be a symbol of security, and yet more and more people are finding themselves seeing where they live as a metaphor for the state of their nation; insecure, expensive, and not theirs to own.

The idea of owning our own home has dissipated for many people over the last 10 years or so. For some, they have appeared to give up hope of ever owning their own piece of real estate, and have opted for the lifetime rental. And there are benefits to renting a property too. While we all can spend years looking for our dream property and plowing money into it to make it “perfect” once we’ve bought it, only to keep reinvesting back into it, does that make the property our ideal home? At least when we rent, the tenant has a proportion of control. Compare renting to buying. Firstly the financial implications of both are very different. Buying a home means saving up for years for a down payment that can range between 3% and 20% of the final cost. And this is before you even think about how much it will cost for admin fees, whether the property is a long chain one, or even if the payments that remain invisible for the vast majority of the process. They say that buying a house is one of the most stressful things you can go through. And so if you are going to go through an anxious period of re-evaluating your finances, scrimping and saving and then only to be told that you’re “unreliable,” and you won’t be getting the mortgage. So, not only have you damaged your credit score, but it still leaves you back in the same place as you started. So why not rent?

The cost will always factor in our choices, and at least with rentals, you can get a property that reflects your budget. A lot of people view renting as giving money away, but if you’re not in a position to buy a home, you need to look at the potential freedom renting offers. Look at the options for an HDB rental in Singapore, there is every different type of home for a person’s budget. Large properties and small ones, apartments and small homes, there is a larger option for people to spread their wings a bit more with the finances they have. And with rentals, there are certain home comforts that take the pressure of you as the tenant. If you owned property, the responsibility is down to you. If the boiler broke, that’s money out of your pocket. The position of renting a property means that all the maintenance issues are the responsibility of the landlord or the letting agency. A few years ago, placing a bond on a property would mean that if there were a minor stain on the wall, your whole bond would be taken away, but luckily as time as gone on, there are many more rules for landlords to comply with. Things like the Deposit Protection Scheme makes ensures that tenants are much more likely to get their bond back. But there are benefits from both sides, and it depends on your life priorities, and with renting there is one major factor that can cause stress in any tenant.

If you have a family and you’ve paid a bond for a property, you have moved in and it has been decided by the landlord that they want to sell up; you’ve then got 30-days to vacate the property. This is the very real threat every tenant faces nowadays. The implications of that on anyone, from a health perspective, are indicative of a society that is just treading on metaphorical eggshells. Even the young professional is used to moving home every 12-months and living with different people all of the time. This is how many millennials are living nowadays, a sort of urban nomad. Adults under the age of 35 years old make up less than 10% of homeowners in the United States. This shows the difficulty in purchasing a home, and the restrictions banks place on people when they hope to get onto the property ladder. It seems that the millennial generation has everything so much more expensive. Yes, inflation is an inevitable factor, but the fact is the while there are such tight restrictions on being a homeowner, this has people moving back in with their parents, not being able to keep down the right job to pay their rent, or relying on pay-day loans, which have a high-interest rate that will seemingly bankrupt anyone who feels tempted.

So what’s the solution to all of this? While the banks are placing tighter and tighter squeezes on those that want to buy a home, by relaxing their rules in certain areas, it will make for a better economy. Looking at millennials, the option of going self-employed or freelancing is a common option so they can have work satisfaction, yet these are people who are viewed as unreliable by the banks, even though the reason they’ve gone down this route is far more lucrative for them than the standard 9 to 5 job. In the United Kingdom, there used to be a different type of mortgage for self-employed people, and this was lifted in recent years. Looking at how people work, the patterns indicate that younger people are going for freelance work more than anything, so if this can be seen to be as important as those who are working “proper” jobs, this will show that they are earning enough and so can easily put as much money into their mortgage costs, maybe even more!