Is it just me or does it seem like everyone and his uncle (and his uncle's uncle) seem like they are buying a house?
Even the eternally cash-strapped mate who only ever does BOGOF deals at Pizza Express seems to be getting in on it.
For those of us who can't afford a house or flat or heck, even a car park space, and will not be able to do so for some time due to the fact that we spent our 20s going out rather than squirrelling away money in socks, or just made fundamentally bad financial decisions, it is seriously demoralising.
Yes, I know I need to get my tiny violin out, but I've noticed a definite shift in the last year, where if you say you're moving house, the automatic assumption is that you're on the property ladder.
"Are you buying?" tends to be the first question out of people's mouths, and for people who don't know you well, you feel that you have to justify it and make up some bollocks excuse such as you haven't decided to settle down or you keep tight-lipped and let the pressure of unspoken questions wash over you.
For friends who are less discreet and ask 'why' - it then puts you in a precarious position as you wrestle with indignation that you a) have to talk about your finances and b) talk about how rubbish they are.
Considering most mortgages require a 10% deposit, who are these crazy people who have saved about 20, 30,000 pounds?
In all seriousness though, there is a certain cache about buying at the moment, which makes people who are renting feel like losers. And considering we are Generation Rent, I don't know if it's just my social circle that seems to be swimming in Olympian-sized pools of money or whether it is just smoke and mirrors and people are mortgaging themselves to the eyeballs.
The drive to get on the property ladder is more intense than it has ever been.
In part I blame peer pressure - because if in your 30s you haven't managed to buy somewhere, the insinuation is that you must have done something seriously wrong (as your mate kindly hands you a BOGOF voucher), but our parents also have a part to play.
Now that I'm married, it's the chief refrain from my folks, and I don't know how many times I can keep telling them that if I was sitting on a giant pot of gold (given by who? A leprechaun?) I would buy a house, but clearly I'm not, so I won't be mortgaging myself to the hilt and selling my dog into prostitution.
To add fat to the fire, a story came out in Metro about how first time buyers are freaking out because, having bought into the idea that they must buy as soon as possible, they are worried about being saddled with such a massive debt, having entered all sorts of schemes to buy.
For now, the world seems to be divided into homeowners and tenants, and for now, I know where I firmly sit. Right on my rented balcony.
There is no immediate solution but I can change my attitude towards it and know I'll get there in time. After all, the tortoise won the race, right?
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