Emma Orlando was determined to get on the property ladder but realized she would never save enough for a deposit while spending around £1,000 a month on rent. Then, three years ago, she took a dramatic step.
“I moved to a motorhome to save costs,” says the 28-year-old.
“It took me just over three years living and working there to save a £50,000 deposit for the house I have now bought in Newquay, Cornwall.” Emma outfitted her truck with the help of a friend and watched videos online on how to do it. She also continued her work as an independent marketer using the Wi-Fi installed in her van.
Van life: Amy Nicholson with her dog Indie
“I stayed on a campsite in Cornwall with a beautiful sea view that cost £300 a month, rent and bills for a flat in Kent,” he says. “So I’m making a big saving.” With solar panels, Amy You only need to pay for your kitchen gas (about £40 a year) and your camping stays.
Once the van was ready, Emma’s costs were minimal. She says the cost of running the van was no different to that of a car, and included road tax and refueling with diesel.
The dream of homeownership is increasingly out of reach for first-time buyers thanks to rising mortgage rates and wages failing to keep pace with rising home prices.
The average deposit for first-time buyers is now £34,500, according to estate agent Zoopla, a sum few can come up with without help from family. As a result, would-be first-time buyers are forced to adapt: 700,000 more adults live with their parents than a decade ago.
And a small number choose to live in a caravan to boost their savings. The rise of remote work makes it an increasingly popular option as many employees are no longer tied to their workplace. Many, like Emma, opt for picturesque destinations.
The National Caravan Council, a UK trade body for motorhome owners, says sales of motorhomes have risen steadily since 2013, peaking during the Covid lockdowns.
Spokesperson Rebecca Hutton says: “Due to rising rents, a lack of affordable housing and the cost of living, there are reports that some people are choosing to purchase a motorhome, caravan or motorhome as an alternative to forms of travel. more traditional housing.
Equipped: Lewis Nyman and one of his vans
Amy Nicholson moved into a van two years ago, after living with her parents in Kent. The 36-year-old says: “I lived with them for much of the pandemic and my mental health was not good.” So I decided to sell my car, my only asset, and buy a van to have some freedom.’
With the help of her parents, Amy converted an empty van and even installed solar panels to generate electricity, all under the watchful eye of her mother’s dog Indie. “Before I moved in with my parents, I was spending £1,200 a month on rent and bills on a flat in Kent,” she says. “So I’m making a big saving.”
With solar panels, Amy only needs to pay for her cooking gas (about £40 a year) and her camping stays. Her lower costs mean she has saved enough to buy and renovate a cottage in Newquay, with some help from her parents.
Robert and Mariona Bolohan, aged 29 and 27, moved into a van more than a year ago after struggling to save for a deposit on a house.
However, they discover they like the lifestyle and are managing to run three web-based branding and translation businesses from the van, while saving up to £2,000 a month.
That’s why they are in no hurry to leave. “When we sell the van we will have a deposit of £65,000 to invest in a property in our native Catalonia, Spain, to renovate it,” says Robert.
Lewis Nyman has also managed to increase his savings. He had been paying £750 a month for a shared house and then more than £1,000 a month to rent a flat in Brighton. But, thanks to living in a caravan for the past few years, he has built up £25,000 in savings.
Lewis, 36, now rents out a fleet of electric camper vans in Brighton as a business. Like most people who have adopted this lifestyle, he finds it ideal in the summer and difficult in the winter.
He says: ‘One year the temperature in the van reached -3 and it was so cold that the gas turned to liquid. I couldn’t even turn on the heat.
You can work remotely, so you now plan to travel to Spain or Portugal during the colder months.
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