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03rd Jun 2024

Kevin McCloud’s advice for first-time buyers in the UK is ‘move to Germany’

Charlie Herbert

kevin mccloud uk housing market

‘I look at the UK housing market and I see nothing good here’

Kevin McCloud has said his advice to young Brits looking to buy their first home is to “move to another country where the housing market is healthy,” such as Germany.

The Grand Designs presenter was speaking to JOE ahead of Grand Designs Live, which took place at London ExCel last month.

Housing is one of the major topics of debate in the UK at the moment, with many people feeling that owning a home at the moment is nothing more than a pipe dream.

Although McCloud admitted the UK housing argument is a “really complicated” one, he was quite clear in what the main issue is with the market today.

He said: “In 2009, the average profit that the big housing developers made per unit, per house or per flat was about £6,800. Now, they make per unit 10 times that 68,000.

“They’ve shifted their focus from volume and meeting government targets to the profit they deliver to their shareholders.

“Persimmon, the year before last made £1.1 billion of profit for their shareholders, 25 per cent of their turnover.

“I’ve only got one word for it and I think it’s immoral.”

‘Why should renting be bad?’

So, with all this in mind, what would his advice be to a young person looking to buy their first house in the UK?

“Somebody asked me this question the other day: ‘What do you say to anybody who’s buying a house in this difficult time for the first time?’

Kevin McCloud said he sees ‘nothing good’ with the UK housing market

“And I said, you’ve just thrown the word first time ‘buyer’ into that sentence like it’s a bomb, which it is because my only advice really is to move to another country, where the housing market is healthy, diverse, resilient and renting a home isn’t considered a gamble as dangerous as going to a casino or where renting isn’t considered as though it’s second best.”

The presenter explained that in most of Europe, renting is considered just as viable an alternative as ownership.

He said: “Why should renting be bad? Why are we obsessed with ownership? It’s an idea that was promoted by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s to win more conservative votes.

“It’s got nothing to do with social status or standing or respect or integrity. And in other countries, France and Germany for example, renting is a norm.”

McCloud continued: “And for that matter, it used to be the same in the UK, you could rent a home in the 1950s and early 1960s and there was no stigma attached to it.

“It was simply an alternative to buying in a diverse market. And what happened was that housing became weaponized by the government and we haven’t looked back since.

“And as a result, people look at housing simply as a means to make money.”

‘Move to Germany!’

All in all then, the property expert painted a pretty bleak picture of UK housing.

“I look at the UK market and I see nothing good here,” he said. “I look at what’s happening in Germany, Holland, Netherlands, Denmark, Scandinavia, I look at other, almost every other North European country and Canada – they’ve got really healthy markets, lots of diverse opportunities, lots of diverse offers and it isn’t hugely expensive.

“So, yeah, my advice is move to Germany, maybe that’s the way forward!”

Kevin McCloud was speaking ahead of Grand Designs Live, the premier home exhibition, taking place at London ExCel between 4-12 May https://www.granddesignslive.com/

Related links:

Woman immediately pulls out of buying first home after spotting ‘huge red flag’ in garden

There’s an area in Germany where the price of rent hasn’t changed for 500 years

You can now buy a house in Italy for less than the price of a coffee