Mpho Maboi
Mpho Maboi

Property versus renting among the youth

I am currently in the process of buying a home. It has been one of the most time-consuming and irritating times of my life; not only because the prices of houses are ridiculous, but also due to the fact that banks make it almost impossible for one to get a home loan. One is treated like a criminal only because one wants to put a roof over one’s head or, to put it simply, invest in the country.

I am all for the new NCA rules, but honestly, at times I find that it is directed more at making it impossible to invest in property than at preventing people being too flashy. I found buying a car to be a much simpler process than what I am going through now.

At times one can understand why more and more young people would rather buy a flashy car than a house. The system is designed to make sure one does not get into unnecessary debt, yet it is more often simply a pain in the butt.

Anyway, that’s not the main reason I am writing this; I just needed to vent a bit — do excuse me. The reason I am writing is simply this: call it ignorance or just lack of interest, but only now that I am entering the property market am I realising how much of my hard-earned cash I have wasted over the past eight years of being employed, paying off someone else’s bond.

When I sat down and actually calculated how far in bond repayments I would be right now had I entered the property market from the moment I started working, I was almost brought to tears. Can you imagine how far I would be? I mean, if I had taken out a 10-year bond, I would practically be finished paying off the house now.

Such a sad state of reality; sadly, though, not many of the youth have actually realised this property trap. It is so easy to decide to move out because one is chasing independence and start renting property somewhere. It is so easy it should be criminalised. Yet, as I said before, at times the system works against us. It is much easier to get approval for a car than it is to get approval for a home — especially if you fell into the debt trap at a very early age. In terms of the NCA, you are just a rotten apple. The fact that you were young and did not have to deal with the NCA laws back when you made the debt errors means nothing to the financial institutions.

Personally I think it should be the other way round. Too many of the youth spend thousands of rands on expensive cars that will never bring any monetary returns, as opposed to buying property. As the youth, we are more concerned about the here and now. Not many of us think about the future. Not many of us think about tomorrow, for that matter. We are too busy wanting to show off to our friends that we earn a big salary via driving a big, flashy car. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, not only do you lack any investments for the future, but you also most probably do not even have a proper bed to sleep on.

To be honest, my eyes were opened by meeting a young man who drives a modest car yet lives in one of the most beautiful and biggest houses I have come across. This man proved to me that when you go out, people might think you are a second-class citizen because of the car you drive, yet when you get home, you are king of your castle and no one can take that away from you.

A car is for showing off while a house is security — not only for yourself but also for your kids in the future. Nothing beats having a home you can call your own. Nothing beats knowing that no one can send you a letter informing you that your lease is being cut short because the owner of the property you inhabit has decided to sell it. Nothing beats that.

Young people, let’s enter the property market. Yes, it will be difficult at first, but trust me: after those initial months of adjusting to the bond repayments, you will know that this is the best decision you have made, not only for yourself, but also for your future. Your fancy car, on the other hand, will not.