Britain is moving towards a “German housing model” with a greater percentage of the population renting, a study has claimed – with two thirds of renters saying they have no intention of purchasing a property.
The report found that people increasingly said they did not want to be tied down to living in a specific area and wanted flexibility to travel abroad. Traditionally, people in Germany do not tend to rush to buy a property, opting instead to rent their home.
The Direct Line study found that when it comes to levels of home ownership, official statistics place the UK ahead of only Denmark, Austria and Germany in terms of the proportion of owner-occupied dwellings.
Scotland has a higher proportion of renters than any other area of the UK, with 43 per cent of the adult Scottish population paying a landlord rather than a mortgage, the report found.
While affordability is cited as a reason for people not thinking they will buy a home, with 44 per cent of Scots citing it as a major reason to continue renting, a quarter of Scots not looking to buy claim they simply do not want the financial commitment that comes with owning a home.
For others, the attractiveness of not owning is flexibility, with 17 per cent of Scots – far higher thabn then UK average of 9 per cent – wanting to be free to travel and seven per cent saying they do not wanting to be tied to a local area.
Over a fifth of those not planning to buy think the cost of maintaining a property is too high and would rather have a landlord deal with any issues that may arise.
Christina Dimitrov, business manager at Direct Line for Business, said:
“The UK housing market continues to change and we are seeing a major attitudinal shift when it comes to renting. While price is a factor, many people are increasingly comfortable with the flexibility afforded by renting a property rather than jumping into home ownership.”
Across the whole of the UK, London has the highest number of renters, with its 2.7 million tenants accounting for a sixth of all British renters.
Despite London’s fast-growing property market, which has seen prices rise by more than £12,000 in the past year, the UK capital is the region people expect to spend the shortest time renting before buying a home.
The average Londoner expects to spend under 12 years renting compared to the national average of 15 years and two months.