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Majority of private tenants aren’t interested in buying a home

The majority of private tenants in the UK aren’t eager to buy a home, with only 42% interested in getting on the property ladder, according to research from buy-to-let lender Landbay.

The study – which surveyed 2,000 UK private renters – revealed that only 13% of over-55s are interested in buying a home, while 46% of those aged 35-44 are keen and 64% of millennials (aged 25-34) aspire to buy in the near future.

There is also a significant gender discrepancy. Some 47% of women are interested in buying a home, compared to just 34% of men. Women who want to buy are more likely than men to want to invest their money rather than pay rent (48% vs 39%) and make decorating decisions (20% vs 14%), while male potential buyers are keen to have a connection to the local area (8% vs 4%) and have more space (25% vs 24%).

The number of people planning to buy is highest in London (48%) and Northern Ireland (47%). Those in the South West and Wales are least likely, both coming in at 37%, which is surprising given the relatively low house prices in these respective areas.

A quarter (25%) of renters without home ownership aspirations say the flexibility of renting proves too tempting to resist. Some 6% attribute their reluctance to buy to moving to a new country, and 5% plan to move to a new city or a new job.

“This research suggests the UK’s enthusiasm for homeownership may be waning,” says John Goodall, chief executive officer at Landbay. “Conversations around the private rental sector often assume the bulk of renters are simply biding their time until they can buy a house.”

“However, the changing face of employment and a thirst for flexible living mean renting is more attractive than ever, and landlords should reflect this in their interactions with tenants.”

Goodall says it’s crucial that investment in the private rented sector becomes a priority. He concludes: “What use is Labour’s Right to Buy policy if renters have no interest in doing so? Instead the government must focus on encouraging purpose-built rental properties and cease its penalisation of landlords.”

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