28% of Bexhill people rent – Is that healthy?
Renting used to be a dirty word in the 1960’s and 1970’s. You either lived in a ‘Rigsby Rising Damp’ style bedsit with wood chip on the wall and a coin operated electric meter (that buzzed in the night) or you lived in a council house. In the latter part of the 20th Century, the British were persuaded that rent payments were ‘wasted money’. However, owning often makes less financial sense than renting and as the rate of home ownership is starting to drop substantially, as we roll the clock forward to today, there is no stigma at all to renting -a substantial amount of people are now doing it. In fact, of the 41,203 residents of Bexhill, 11,336 of you rent your house from either the local authority/social provider (ie council house or housing association) or private landlords – meaning 27.51% of Bexhill people are tenants.
The idea of home ownership is deeply embedded in the British soul, in fact 29,286 Bexhill people live in an owner occupied property (or 71.07%). Housing is at the heart of Government policy, as George Osborne has promised 200,000 new properties a year so first time buyers can buy their first home whilst recently changing the tax laws for buy-to-let landlords. To get votes, Margaret Thatcher (and everyone since) ran election campaigns promising everybody their own home, and as a country, we seem to equate home ownership the goal of British life.
So as more and more people are renting nowadays, are we turning to a more European way of living?
Well, I believe, as a country, we are. In fact, home ownership could be affecting your health! The UK, according to Bloomberg, is only the 21st most healthy country in the world. Germany is at No.10 and Switzerland at No.4 and home ownership is at 52.5% and 44% respectively in those countries (in the UK it is 64.8%).
In the Rother District Council area, 69.52% of homeowners who own their house outright said they were in ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health whilst, at the other end of the scale, 7.32% said their health was ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’. Looking at renting, the census splits tenants into two types – 67.5% of Bexhill local authority/social tenants said they were in ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health and 11.83% were in ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ health, whilst ‘private rented tenants’ in Bexhill, were the healthiest, as 81.39% of them described themselves in ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health and only 5.85% were in ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ health.
I am not suggesting that low home ownership rates in Switzerland and Germany are directly linked to health, nor, do I expect Brits to all go to Berlin, Interlaken or Düsseldorf and realise how happy people are when they don’t need to worry about all the stresses which accompany home ownership. The numbers for Bexhill do go some way to back up the argument (and they are the same across the whole of the UK). Nonetheless I do think that substantially all of the upside to home ownership in recent years has been a function of monumental rising house prices. Now that’s come to an end, it’s hard to see why anybody would want to buy?
Renting is here to stay in Bexhill and it’s growing incrementally each year. Even with the new tax rules for landlords, buy-to-let is still a viable investment option for most people in the town. There has never been a better time to buy buy to let property in Bexhill, but buy wisely. Gone are the days that you would make profit on anything with four walls and a roof. Take advice, take opinion, do your homework. One place to do more homework, to read more articles on the Bexhill Property market like this, is the Bexhill Property Blog at www.bexhillpropertyblog.com