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Over forties renters almost double in a decade

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The number of people still renting in their forties has almost doubled over the past decade.

Rising prices and marital break-ups have seen an increasing number of older tenants, including those with children. There are concerns they are being ignored by the government, which is focused on younger first-time buyers.

Data from the Family Resources Survey by the Department for Work and Pensions analysed by the BBC showed the proportion of 35 to 54-year-olds who live as private tenants has nearly doubled in 10 years since 2006/07.

In particular, those in the 45 to 50 category has increased as a result of ‘death, debt or divorce’.

Across all age groups, people are more likely to be renting from a private landlord than the local council or a housing association. Around 20% of UK households rent privately; 28% own their home with a mortgage, while 34% own their home outright and 17% rent from a local council or housing association.

Speaking to the BBC, Paula Higgins, chief executive of the Homeowners’ Alliance said that the problem threatens to create social inequality between the haves – who are homeowners – and the have nots, who rent.

There is also the problem of whether renters would need government support in retirement, while those who own their own home would have fewer or no housing costs.

However, the maths is not clear cut. Homeownership has been a route to riches, but property prices have been rising steadily for almost four decades and now sit at 7.6x average salaries. ONS data shows that the median price paid for a home rose 259% between 1997 and 2016, while earnings rose only 68%.

House prices are falling in some parts of London and the South East. This may also be acting as a deterrent for some forty-somethings.

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