The pfeg blog

News and views from the world of #financialeducation

With financial education help, young people can understand the housing market, and make informed choices

Posted by Kate Faulkner About this blogger

I have worked in property for a long time now and have spent much of that time trying to make sure young people understand the realities of the housing market. When you compare ‘average house prices’ versus ‘average wages’, getting on the property ladder seems like an impossible task. However, if everyone, and young people in particular, are educated as to the financials of housing, buying and renting isn’t quite as ‘out of reach’ as we are often led to believe.

This is a classic case to me where financial education in schools is vital, and as housing is likely to be one of the biggest costs and stresses that young people will experience when leaving home, it is essential they understand the truth about property and the real costs and options available, rather than be frightened by the many scare stories around housing which often appear in the media.

Thanks to funding from the TDS Charitable Foundation YE have produced a new educational resource for teachers of young people which will guide them in how to help young people understand how much it actually costs to rent and buy a home, dependent on their personal circumstances. When you look at actual costs to buy and rent at this level rather than use ‘averages’, the affordability is often far more achievable, making property more accessible to first time buyers and renters. The property market has also changed dramatically since the Millennium and as so many of the ‘myths’ about property have now changed, for example, the idea of ‘renting’ as ‘dead money’ versus buying may not apply in today’s market as it has in the past. Indeed, if you rent well, with full knowledge of a tenants and landlords rights and responsibilities, it can in some cases be a very sensible financial option.

The resource is free to download from the website and is designed to deconstruct the often confusing world of housing options for young people and provide teachers with a range of practical activities that encourage students to work through the choices involved in choosing a financially suitable housing option, based on their personal circumstances. It explains the various housing options which are available to young people at a range of life stages, and life situations, including when social housing is available and covers the increasing number of affordable housing schemes.

The resource explains what housing options are available to young people in all stages of life, and in various life situations. The importance of young people understanding the options that are available to them and their rights is huge, and this resource provides practical ways that teachers can introduce these topics to young people.

These schemes can be particularly helpful in areas where prices are high, such as London or Cambridge, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying to save to get on the ladder. For example, two recent shared ownership schemes I research in London under shared ownership allowed people to part buy/rent from just £71,000, way below the regularly quoted ‘average price of a home is £500,000 in London’.

With housing increasingly being recognised as an important issue to tackle across the country, equipping our young people with the financial education they need to make the right housing decisions for their personal circumstances will be invaluable, both at the start of their independence but also well into the future.

Posted by Kate Faulkner (About this blogger)

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