At Pets Lets we are all about pets and London property. Therefore, we have quickly noted a real correlation between puppy and property prices. Human nature is to see an opportunity and make the most of it. If you want something, you have to ‘pay’ for it.
Residential Property Market
Particularly in London, affordability has been an issue for a while. As a nation we are heading more towards the European model of renting more than property ownership. Prices have over the years been steadily and sometimes rapidly increasing. The market has levelled out with Brexit and Covid 19 with a global lockdown. Getting on the housing ladder for first time buyers in particular has become problematic.
The recent announcement by the nationwide, a leading lender in the housing market has not helped. They are restricting the amount the ‘Bank of Mum & Dad can lend to their children, which although may be temporary, but for many restricts youngsters’ budgets even more. This article on BBC.com explains the rationale behind the move which other lenders have and many others will follow.
The stamp duty ‘holiday’ for first time buyers has helped a bit, but this is more a temporary measure and some sellers, with properties under £500,000, have increased sales prices to take advantage of this. The same can be said of puppy breeders.
Puppy Buyers Market
The increase in puppy prices before and since lockdown have been ‘eye watering’. Credible as well as unscrupulous breeders have been taking advantage of an opportunity, treating it as a business decision. An article in Tatler echoes these thoughts. At the height of lockdown, puppies reached dizzy levels of £10,000. Puppy price inflation has been sudden and rapid. Just like a property transaction, people have to put down a deposit on a puppy, just like you would on a rental property or exchanging on purchasing a property.
It is all about supply and demand. If you don’t pay more or agree to an increased price, then just like a property negotiation you will be ‘gazumped’. Some breeders have been decent. We know of a couple who just bought a Dachshund puppy. They agreed the price last year and then deferred it. The breeder agreed to stick with the original price despite the demand for that breed. This article from the FT sums it up. Websites such as The Kennel Club as well as Dogs Trust have been overwhelmed by the amount of web traffic enquiring about puppies Financial Times.
Post Lockdown Puppy ‘Blues’
Campaigns for years have stressed that buying a dog, a cat or a pet in general is for ‘life’ and not just on whim. The same can be said for during the ‘lockdown’ period. How many families do we know where the children have always ‘hankered’ after a dog and have promised to walk it, clean after it and look after it. Reality is that an adult ends up looking after the dog and walking it on a daily basis. Having a dog is a commitment. Lockdown is indeed the perfect time to train a puppy as you are at home without the stresses of work, particularly if you have been furloughed. However, there have been lifestyle changes since lockdown. ‘Lockdown puppy owners’ have reacted in different ways in life beginning to return to normal
Keeping the dog not an option We have witnessed people returning the puppy to the breeder and it is sold to another owner. People do not think about the upheaval and how that can affect a small puppy. Others have simply given up the puppy for adoption. They don’t have time in their lives for work, everyday stresses and looking after a puppy who needs attention.
Need to go back to work, how do I fit in a puppy into my life? These are owners who really want to make it work having a puppy. It is all about routine and slowly adapting your puppy to this, so that when you go back to work, it is the new ‘norm’. Also there are dog walkers who can look after your dog so that it sees a familiar face and gets some exercise. Here is a really informative article from the RSPCA which gives you tips about looking after your dog and cat when returning back to a more normal working environment. These are people who will generally make it work, because they are making the effort to find a solution and keep their pet as integrate it into their lives long term.
Cannot go back to work and leave my puppy or kitten alone Others are more stressed about leaving their puppy or kitten alone than going to work. They are apprehensive about the change back to a more normal working life and would prefer to work from home. Anxiety is a big issue both on the part of the owner and the pet. This article from the Independent addresses the matter. Nearly 4 in 10 people are concerned about this.
Mental Health Awareness
Research points to the fact that pets can improve people’s mental health. Even stroking a dog or cat has shown to relax people. Pets help people who suffer from depression as they offer companionship and provide support through difficult times.
Dogs offer unconditional love. They welcome you home, whether you have been gone for a couple of hours or just gone to the local shop for milk. For people who are lonely it gives one a sense of purpose. With a dog, there is the need to get up and go for a walk to exercise your dog. You meet people whilst out and about and being outside helps to ‘clear your head’. This article from The Guardian, highlights the positive influence pets have on mental health.
Lockdown was not only an opportunity to get a family dog. It also gave people the chance to have company over lockdown. Why be alone in your flat or house, make a ‘new furry friend’ whilst you have lots of time together. Get into a daily routine of walking your dog.
Adopt a Pet
Using a property analogy, why go for a more expensive new build when you can go for an older ‘well built’ property. So, why go for a puppy with an inflated price, when you can adopt an older dog who desperately needs a home and wants to be part of a family. Wild At Heart Foundation is a fantastic charity that finds dogs homes from all over the world. If you have a look at their Instagram account, it is full of happy stories of dogs being successfully rehomed.
Yes, there may be times when training a dog from a tough background could require more patience. Talking to many people we have met in parks and commons in London, it is well worth it. A close friend adopted a dog from a rescue centre after their dog died. The first few days it would not come out from behind the sofa. A few months later, it is playing with other dogs on the common and has great recall.
With property you research into locations, budget and type of property. With dogs you need to research into type of breed, costs, environment and where you live and kind of property. Do you have a garden and of course, if you rent, are you allowed a cat or dog?
Russell is the Founder of Pets Lets, a 100% pet friendly London property portal with a relocation & viewing service and a hub of information about dogs in London. Pets Lets is a community where people with pets matter. Russell is a staunch advocate for increasing the number of pet friendly landlords in the city.