So last month I did something that I never thought possible in my 30s, I moved house and relocated to my parents’ home.
I phrase it to people as “living with my parents” as this feels mildly more acceptable than saying I’ve moved back home. Which it isn’t, as my parents no longer live in our family home. And it’s a temporary move for a few months; I’m affectively lodging.
I’m hugely grateful to them for a) having a large enough house to accommodate me and my stuff (and after 12 years away, there is stuff!) and b) being willing to let me live there rent-free. However it still feels like a massive regression and step back in my life. One which has been born out of a desperate, final attempt to actually save some money in order to finally be able to buy my own tin shack, as opposed to living in other people’s, and paying off their mortgages through my extortionate monthly rent.
Apparently I’m in good company as 35% of millennials are now living with their parents. Not surprisingly this is most prevalent in London, where the average deposit for a first time buyer is now a whopping £90,000 (gulp!) There’s even a special name for us: the boomerang generation. The kids the parents just can’t get rid of!
I wish I could be one of these people who didn’t care about owning their own home, but I’ve reached the point in my life, where I want to be able to knock picture hooks in the walls without having to ask someone else’s permission. Or having to repaint an entire room in order to make sure I get my deposit back. I’d also like to be able to live somewhere without the constant threat of eviction or rent increases hanging over me. Yes, I know mortgage payments can increase, but at the moment they show no sign of surging anytime soon.
The sad truth is that the only way to get on the property ladder in London these days is through bereavement (family inheritance) or marrying/partnering up. Among my friends, the only people who have made it to the promised land of home ownership are the smug marrieds, who look on with pity at those of us forced to either live at home or as students in multi room rental accommodation; our self-inflicted punishment for not finding “the one”. I often have to bite my tongue when visiting the smugs pretty Cath Kidtson-ed, aga-burning homes in well-heeled SW postcodes, which scream “winner takes all”. Look how you could live if you had a partner and could share all the costs. (Yes, I realise it’s not quite as simple as that really!)
And herein lies the truth; London has become almost financially impossible if you are single and not earning a good crust. It is cripplingly expensive and shows no mercy to those who don’t have a mate to spread the load with. If you want to be able to experience the best of it, you’d better make sure you couple up fast.