I remember it so well: the existential angst, the self-doubt, the bitter railing against intergenerational inequality, all of which preoccupied me for much my twenties.
The cause? Anxiety about getting on the housing ladder.
When you’re in that desperate state, it’s all consuming. Owning your own home is the holy grail of adulthood. You imagine that if you achieve it, everything else will be alright, you will get on with the rest of your life, focus more on your career, somehow be more of a person. Flowers will grow in your garden, you’ll do things like chat to the neighbours and you will no longer be beholden to landlords, with their rent increases, reluctance to resolve broken hobs and intransigence over pet ownership. You’ll get that dog and you’ll stay in that house for YEARS, brazenly putting things up with blu tac on the walls.
Nothing else mattered in those pre-home ownership years – and actually when I was 30 and it did happen, thanks to a decent hand-out from my in-laws (given all the more urgently because of the bump I was growing), the experience matched my expectations. I loved being able to paint walls, lay turf and hammer in nails. When my first son was born a matter of weeks after we moved into our first mortgaged property, I felt more secure, like I’d completed a necessary step in the check box list of parenthood.
So I get it. I get the yearning for true financial stability, housing security and a life less stressful simply because you own your own roof. Would I have also chosen to take out a mortgage on a 40-year term in order to get on the ladder? If it was the only way to afford a home, the answer is yes, you betcha.
Increasingly, it is the only way.