I’ve been a property owner since I was 21 – scraping together a deposit from the money I was saving to buy my own horse – my “Brown Boy” money as my mum referred to it at the time. (I never did get my own horse but that’s another story..)
But with two of our children leaving home recently, I’ve found myself wondering whether selling up, paying off the mortgage and renting would be a viable alternative to buying another smaller property.
My husband is not keen. He sensibly points to the seemingly high cost of renting compared to monthly mortgage repayments. There is also the question of where any released capital would be invested, if nothing else to avoid it being spent on silly things.
We seem to have an enduring obsession with residential property in the UK.
Why is that? Many people will refer to the fact that property has been such a good investment for them. I’m sure that’s true. But which comes first, good investment or somewhere to live?
For all the financial arguments about buying or renting it isn’t actually about that at all. Owning or renting your home is about emotional security. Most people want to own their own property, not because it is a good investment, but because it makes them feel safe and in control.
As I find with most financial discussions, when it comes down to it, rarely is it just about the money.