Iona was on Vanessa Feltz’s breakfast show on BBC Radio London this morning discussing young people’s chances of getting on the housing ladder. An estate agent’s survey has claimed that millennials could raise the average deposit now apparently needed to buy a London property, which the survey claimed was £64,000, by cutting back on coffees and other luxury habits. But the survey admitted that some of that would still need to come from the Bank of Mum & Dad.
Iona said that the parental contribution would have to be a “huge chunk” and would be needed to get you over the line. “If you don’t have the bank of mum and dad to fall back on you can make all these savings but it is not going to get you very far.”
So were young people right to believe they could never get there? Iona: “There is also a danger that my generation can look at media reports about the economic outlook and all the doom and gloom and think there is no point in saving money. Regardless of whether you want to get on the housing ladder, you should look at your spending habits, do you really need that coffee, be more mindful of your spending.”
Vanessa: “But if you need 64K every time you have a coffee you are not going to e thinking this could make a difference.”
Iona: “One way to look at it is there are ways to make savings, in the report they mention lottery tickets, shop-bought lunches, and sometimes people really are spending because it is so convenient on a contactless card, then there are holidays, though that is a luxury that can help you get through and cope with living in London.”
Vanessa: “But an older generation listening to this will say you can’t go on holiday if you aren’t on the property ladder, people of a more senior generation to mine would say of course you can’t be spending money on holidays, we were lucky if we got a day out to Southend never mind jetting off to Magaluf for thruppence, you must have heard them saying we had to sit on orange boxes because we couldn’t afford furniture.”
Iona: “Yes there is a maybe a perception that the older generation got on the housing ladder with no sacrifices or trade-offs. But the difference is that our generation have all these influences and convenience at our fingertips, it makes it so much easier to spend money, and the government has not helped, making it that much harder to have the discipline needed to get on the housing ladder.”
Jasmine, 25, a journalist, paying £470 a month to live in a house-share, said she came from a family where there wasn’t 30K to spare for a deposit, like the vast majority of people, and she was sick of “puritanical attitudes” towards a generation that was in reality far worse off than their parents. She said there weren’t enough homes for young people and would never be enough.
Iona said Jasmine had clearly assessed that for her it would be a mammoth task, but one of the problems was the concentration of opportunity in the capital – Iona too had come here to find work – and the pressures that put on housing. Anyone able to work outside London might have a better opportunity to raise that deposit. But it was wrong to be moralistic about home ownership, because it wasn’t right for everyone.
Vanessa asked whether Jasmine could envisage living at home to save for a deposit. Jasmine said she was one of the 59% of millennials who didn’t have a partner to join forces with, but she felt it was “disgraceful” that 25-34 year olds should have to go back home for much of their youth or accept they would always be part of generation rent, and it also made her feel she had let her parents down by failing to escape it.
Vanessa concluded with a kind mention for Iona’s book Spare Change, Better Ways to Manage Money. “I’m going to have a read of it, I could have done with that some time ago.”
Iona was later interviewed at home for BBC London News tonight.