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Home sweet home… © Mary Moor
Впервые опубликовано в журнале «Speak Out»

As the famous English saying goes «an Englishman's home is his castle»; there are few things more important to a British person than having his or her own home.

Why is owning a house so important in Britain?

Although in some countries (for example Greece) it is perfectly acceptable and normal to live with your parents even when you are in your thirties, in modern Britain children are generally encouraged to leave home as soon as they have finished formal education. Because quite often going to university means living a long way from home for three years, many British kids effectively leave the 'family nest' at seventeen. What happens if they don't? Well, although some families, especially up North, would be ok with that, many parents would not be very happy. Many British parents believe that because they have already spent at least seventeen years bringing up children, they now deserve a rest. And, of course, young people themselves want to live on their own to feel independent.

Of course, things are not as simple as that. As most jobs are concentrated in London and in the South of England, many people from all over Britain want to live in a relatively small area. This inevitably means very high house prices. A small (and believe me, when I say small - it is small!) flat in London can cost anything between £200,000-£250,000 and the prices are rising. Renting is also very expensive, so here are more reasons to become a house owner - those of status and social security. The bigger and more expensive your house is, the more you can show that you are successful as a person. Besides, having a house gives a sense of stability and security. Most people who own a house have a mortgage. This means that you do not have to pay all the money in one go but pay some money every month until you have paid off the total cost of the house.

What house?

There are all sorts of different houses that you can buy in Britain (if you have the money that is). We asked some British people to tell us about their houses.

Terraced house

Hello, I'm Tracey and I live in a terraced house in Glasgow, Scotland. A terraced house is a house joined to a row of other houses. It is not very big, only two bedrooms but my husband and I live on our own, so there is enough space for us and our dog, Spot. The only problem with a terraced house is the noise if you are unlucky enough to have noisy neighbours. Fortunately, we do not have that problem.

Semi-detached house

Hi, I'm my name is Erik. I'm fifteen. I live with my parents in a small town in the South-East of England. We have a semi-detached house. This means that my house is joined to another house. It has a kitchen, lounge, bathroom with a toilet and three bedrooms. Oh, yes we also have a small garden. British people like having a garden, you know. It is quite a modern house, so we have central heating. I would really like an open fireplace but modern houses do not have them.

Detached house

Hi there. I'm Paul from London. I live in a detached house with my wife, two kids and a cat. It is quite a large house with a nice back garden and five bedrooms. Having a detached house is more expensive than a semi-detached or terraced one. I like it because when you are sitting in the garden, nobody else can see you. I would like to buy a country cottage somewhere nice and quiet but how would I find a job there?

A block of flats

Hello, my name is Yasmin. I'm fourteen and live in Liverpool, the hometown of the Beatles. My family comes from Bangladesh but I was born in England. We live in a council estate in a block of flats. This means that we did not have to buy our flat. It was given to us for free by the local government. This is because my father doesn't have a well-paid job, so we could not afford to buy or even rent even a small flat. My mum doesn't speak English, so there are very few jobs that she can do. Most British people would not want to live in a block of flats because quite often they are badly built and are associated with poverty and crime.


I'm Mark. Guess where I live - I live in a boat! Many people's dream would be to live in a large country mansion or picturesque country cottage, but I think that living in a houseboat is a lot more exciting. I do not have a regular job, so I can stay in one area for a few months and then move somewhere else. England is just perfect for that because it has lots of canals. There are other people like me who like living in a boat, so I never feel that I'm completely alone but at the same I feel completely independent. If you think I'm strange, I know somebody who lives in a caravan and another friend who lives in a lighthouse!

What house would you like to live in?

© Mary Moor

Впервые опубликовано в журнале «Speak Out»

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