Houseboats and caravans, Millennials look to alternative living options to get on the property ladder

By Emma Martin, 21 February 2019

A new study commissioned by residential and leisure mooring provider BWML has shown that over half (55%) of millennials are unable to save for a deposit in order to purchase their first home. Although a staggering statistic, it is not a revelation, with the number of long term renters on the increase as property becomes harder and harder to afford.

With this in mind, it’s little surprise that Millennials are beginning to look creatively at living options, as well as ways to get their foot on the ladder faster. BWML’s research has confirmed this, revealing that 51% of millennials would be willing to live in an alternative dwelling instead of a house in order to get a foot on the first rung of the ladder.

Of alternative residences, 53% said they would provisionally live in a caravan, 33% were in favour of living on the water in a houseboat and 14% would temporarily live in a trailer. The houseboat was the favourite long-term option; with over a quarter (27%) saying they would raise a family on the water.

Julie Cox, a long-time boat resident, believes that living on a boat offers a unique way of living: “The lifestyle is more relaxed and you can move whenever you want. I have met and seen many people on the canal with all sorts of issues. Depression being one of them. I think being on the canal helps them, mostly because they are rarely judged by others and have the option to start afresh if they choose. It offers a healthier life style all round.”

As well as affordability being a factor in choosing alternative living options, others were drawn to the concept because of health and well-being (25%), environmental advantages (15%), and travel (10%).

Kat, travel blogger at Wandering Bird, said: “People are willing to live a little smaller, in order to have more freedom to travel and enjoy the world. Whether that’s living in a van or on a boat, there are several options and I think more people are becoming aware of those and taking the opportunities which come their way.”

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