Generation Rent: mi casa, su casa

Door knockerMy home belongs to my landlords, a nice older couple who charges me reasonable rent and painstakingly maintains the property. I enjoy the beauty of their garden in the summer and when something goes awry, I give them a call and they take care of the repairs.

There are two reasons that I do not own my own home. One is that the headaches and repairs that come with home ownership give me the willies. The idea of spending every weekend at the hardware store shopping for drywall and plumbing fixtures, or cutting grass and cleaning eaves troughs fills my heart with dread. The more compelling reason, of course, is that, in the current economic climate, I simply can’t afford to own my own home.

I suppose this makes me part of “Generation Rent”. The term first appeared in May 2011, in a survey by the UK’s National Centre for Social Research. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (some 8000 20-45-year-olds) felt that they had no prospect whatsoever of buying a home and that renting would become the norm.

In an article in The Telegraph, Alison Blackwell, the co-author of the report, says that, “the phenomenon of Generation Rent could have major socio-economic implications. It could open up a widening of the wealth gap that already exists between home owners and non home owners, and people in Generation Rent risk insufficient finances at retirement.”

I guess it will be up to us, again, to create a new paradigm of home ownership. Maybe the jokes we make amongst ourselves about grouping together in old age to create seniors’ communes isn’t so crazy after all.

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