I might be able to swing a condo in my area one day, in which case I’ll become an owner. But there’s no way I’m ever going to be able to afford a detached house in my neighborhood, which I’m very fond of.
I don’t think I’d mind the household maintenance tasks; it’s the thought of living in a bland, distant, car-dependent suburb that appalls me. A condo in town would be a better choice for me.
I rent. I’m not in a position to buy for some time yet, partly my fault partly not.
I’m 24 - I know nobody under 30 who has bought (yeah yeah, mortgaged) without help from parents or elsewhere, to get the 10-20k deposit if nothing else. In fact, in the SE of England, there’s no way anyone on a typical salary for under-30s could get close to buying. Because the market’s full of baby-boomers ensuring their retirement is profitable (personal gripe , but I’m sure it’s a valid observation as well)
If I were in other parts of the country, I’d have little difficulty buying a half-decent place in a so-so area. There’s a quite astonishing divide between the two halves of England.
(Wild speculation: Britain has fairly recently moved to a owner-dominated system, but I can’t see that this will last. The “Buy-to-rent” market is the biggest and most consistent grower, in other words people who a couple of generations ago would have barely rented their own place can get enough credit to buy several and rent them out. The knock-on effect for my generation is that there’s far fewer properties on the market, making them more expensive. I strongly suspect that I’m part of a generation who may find that renting and putting money into other investments is more secure and less expensive than getting into property.)
We “own” a 2000 square ft. townhouse with a 2-car garage. Happily, similar units’ sale prices have gone up 37% in the six years we’ve owned it. It’s our first owned house, which we bought at age 51. But I was in the military for 23 years, which pretty much ruled out buying much of anything for a long time.
I bought my little house last October and moved into it in November. It’s 70 years old, and a block from the beach. It came with a weather-beaten sign with a cartoon vulture on it and the legend “HILLCREST”. (Hm. I just typed “HELLCREST”. Maybe a name change is in order? ) Since it’s at the top of the hill, there are no worries about flooding.
I didn’t buy a house in L.A. because I never expected to be there as long as I was. Bad decision on my part. Well, I have a house now. In the two years my best fiend owned it, it appreciated 50%. I guess they’re not making any more shoreline, or something.
The other reason to put up with all the hassles and taxes is that houses can also be great investments. In 1972, we sold our house in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, not far from Elmwood, for $42,000. This smaller house across the street with less land is now going for $399,000. :smack:
We own, and while we pay property taxes, our water bill is only about $15 every quarter (and we use a lot of water!). We don’t pay for sewage or trash pick-up. I’m not sure what you mean by that - where do you live that people pay for sewage and trash pick-up?
Anyway, we (and the bank ) own our house. It’s a four-bedroom Ranch house, on just over a third of an acre. Full basement, garage, fenced yard. Sort of a ‘cookie-cutter’ type of neighborhood, but it’s 50 years old, so everyone has fixed their houses up and changed things and made additions, so there’s a certain uniformity, but they’re not identical.
That’s one of the cool things about this neighbourhood. All of the houses are different. As I said, my house is 70 years old. It started out as a cabin, and there have been two or three additions to it over the years. Since this is a vacation town, most of the houses are small. Some of the “houses” are single-wide or double-wide mobile homes. (The Canadian couple across the street who come down on summer weekends intended to build a house on their lot, but they’ve been using the single-wide mobile home for 23 years.) I looked at the plat map when I was buying this place, of course. The lot next to me has two houses on it. (I don’t know if the lot was subdivided.) The farther house is one of, if not the oldest house in the area. It was originally down by the shore, but was moved up to its current lot yonks ago. Then someone decided he needed a better view, so he hired a crane to pick up the whole house bodily and move it up the slope to elevate it about ten feet. That house is in its third location since it was built! It’s tiny. Maybe the size of my living room and kitchen. But very cute.
Some of the houses around here are in poor repair, since they’re only used occasionally. Others are quite well-kept. A house that looked a good candidate for tearing down has been conpletely refurbished and people are living in it now. The house across from it is in the process of being redone and is for sale.
When I was a wee’un in San Diego our house was similar to all of the others. (But as Bibliocat said, they had all been “modified” so that they didn’t appear the same to my little eyes.) The house in Lancaster was part of a housing tract too, but the houses there are just recently gaining their own characters. It’s different and nice to see no two houses the same here.
The San Diego house brings me to tpayne’s comment. My parents paid $19,200 for it in the '60s. A few months ago my mom told me that she collected that same amount in rent from it. She had it reappraised to establish a new base for her trust, and it would now sell for $450,000. I’m kicking myself a little bit for not buying a place when I moved to L.A. in my 20s. Eleven years of paying rent! I could have had a house 1/3 paid off! And I could have made a bundle when I moved!
I think the younger you buy a house, the better. You probably won’t live in it the rest of your life; but in the right area it’s an excellent investment. At the very least, it’s a good “savings account”.
I own 2/3 of a house, the mortgage company own the rest.
I rented a flat for a couple of years which I shared with a work colleague (no we did not share a room). That made sense at the time because we weren’t sure about the future of our jobs, and certainly I wasn’t making enough to cover a mortgage. When said colleague moved out I bought a house as soon as I could. My mortgage repayments on a four bedroom house now are still less than the monthly rent on a two bedroom flat was four years ago.
As GorillaMan was (I think) saying. If you can afford it, it is cheaper to buy here than to rent. The housing market here is seriously wonky.
I think you meant highest home ownership percentage. I know that a higher percentage of people own homes here, than in Germany. One reason for this is the fact that the interest rate on a mortgage is tax deductible here, so the government is basically making sure you get an interest free mortgage.
I’m one of those ex-pats you mentioned, and I am renting. I think the rents here are actually lower than in any large urban centers in Germany. The only places you will find lower rents in Germany are in the boondocks. It looks like I will be here in Holland for a long time, so I am starting to look for something to buy. It just seems like one of the smartest ways of investing for retirement. I would hate to have to pay rent from what little retirement benefits I will most likely be getting. :eek:
We own. A 2200 sqft. 4BR in Napa county, bought in 2000 for $279K, probably worth $400K now. Before we met, my wife had always lived with her parents in houses in suburban/rural areas. I grew up in such an area, but rented apartments in Berkeley for about 15 years. I could happily return to apartment life; I didn’t like doing chores when I was a kid, and I don’t like it now.
The last place we rented was very luxurious and extremely reasonably priced. We probably would have lived there forever had they not jacked our rent 12% one year instead of the 2% increases we had been receiving.
It was nice to have everything included except the light bill. Gas, water, property tax, trash removal, PMI, assesments, maintainence, landscaping, swimming pool, emergency repairs, etc were all included. And the management was very responsive and extremely intolerant of rule breakers.
Many factors determine whether to rent or buy and buying isn’t necessarily always the best way to go. Sometimes renting and investing the difference between a rent payment and mortgage + property tax + (PMI) + (assessment) is a better solution, especially if neighborhood property values are not increasing significantly.
We bought our first house 5 years ago, but not for us to live in–my MIL lives there and pays us “rent”, so we can go out and visit her and write it off on our taxes (she lives in the mid-west).
We bought our first condo 2.5 years ago, and just sold it for a 50% profit (that’s the CA Bay Area for ya)
We bought our first house that we live in six weeks ago. Built in 1939 (3BR, 1.5 bath), we’re only the fourth residents–it’s a place people live in for a long time (and we can understand why; we love it!). Didn’t actually think we would take the plunge quite this early, especially with the market what it is 'round here, but we couldn’t resist. This was The Place.