To date, buying a house is still the best financial decision I’ve ever made. Having put down a deposit of £10,000 for my half, 2.5 years later, when my cousin and I sold the house, I walked away with £39k.
The return to renting
In short, going back to being a tenant has been bitter-sweet. I got a great deal by dealing directly with the landlord, who I found via OpenRent. The one-bed flat I rent with my girlfriend is in a nice area, and worth quite a bit more than we could afford (if it was available to buy). It’s also a lot more central than my old house, meaning my commute is a lot less painful.
However, when I owned my home, every mortgage payment I made felt good, and paying rent, well, just doesn’t. It only feels worse when I total up how much we’ve paid to our landlord since we moved in!
That said, I am cognisant that the vast majority of my windfall was thanks to capital appreciation (thank you Crossrail), rather than paying off the principal part of my mortgage. And, so far this year, house prices have stayed pretty stagnant due to Brexit uncertainty so I don’t feel like I’ve missed out too much.
My next property
Looking forward, my girlfriend and I are thinking of buying a place next year. Could it be the perfect time to buy? Well, a “no-deal” Brexit looks inevitable by October, and that may well be detrimental to house prices. Furthermore, Boris Johnson has suggested his government may make adjustments to stamp duty. No longer a first-time buyer, since we are looking at properties in the region of £350k, abolishing stamp duty would save us a massive £5,000! So it’s worth waiting until the new tax year just to see whether that happens…
Finally, as a first-time buyer, my girlfriend has squirrelled away £8,000 into her LISA since the 2017/18 tax year. Come April next year, as we enter the 2020/21 tax year, she will be eligible for another £1,000 government bonus (should she be able to top-up her LISA with another £4k), that will bring her government bonus total to £3,000- not bad!