Rents and house prices keep going up in York. But what does this mean for people living in the city? In the latest in our York’s Property Crisis series, Roy Horobin talks to Mattie who has sacrificed so much to try to get on the housing ladder
“Our jobs are here, and our family are here. Plus, we love the city and want to contribute. Why should we ship out?”
Mattie, 37, was born and schooled in York, works in the city – and is facing a struggle to stay here.
There is good news and bad news. Mattie and her partner, Jordan, 35, could soon be moving out of her parents’ two-bedroom bungalow in Holgate, which had been home to six people for the last two years.
If all goes to plan, their new home will be a modest two-bedroom house in Holgate, costing £225,000. The bad news is that despite winning the bid for the house on 26 February, they are still waiting for the keys, and the sale could yet fall through.
Even if they are successful, the financial strain of buying the house means they haven’t “had a holiday since 2018” and will not be able to get away any time soon. Mattie would like to marry her partner, but with the mortgage costs, they “may never afford a wedding.”
Such sacrifices seem harsh in 21st century Britain. Mattie is not asking to be a billionaire; she has a good job as a shop manager, Jordan is an assistant manager, and they have, “simple life dreams” of owning their own home, getting married and enjoying life.
They have spent five years renting and two years living with their parents.
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Mattie and Jordan do not have children, but Jordan has a child from a previous relationship. In common with many families, Jordan’s son stays at the weekend, and the couple asked the council for a property to rent.
All they were offered was a one-bedroom flat. So they resolved to save for their own place.
Mattie feels punished for “not having a child” and trapped in the middle – between those on lower incomes who get some support, and “people who are really well off”.
She and her partner have a work ethic and decent jobs, but their parents are not in a position to help financially.
Mattie and her partner previously rented a home in what she thought was a quiet Heworth street. She had got on well with her neighbour initially, but relations went downhill until they became almost unbearable.
A turning point came when her neighbours were partying till gone 4am when Mattie had to be up for work at seven the next day. She went round to complain – and from that point, the relationship deteriorated.
So they moved out and saved money by squeezing into her parents’ two-bedroom bungalow.
Now Mattie is waiting to see if they will get onto the property ladder. It has been a long and challenging struggle.