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Number of middle-aged renters doubles in a decade

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

The proportion of middle-aged households privately renting has increased by 70% over the last decade and is set to grow even further.

According to government data analysed by Paragon Bank, the number of households in which the lead renter is between 45 and 64 has risen from 691,000 in 2011 to 1.8 million as of 2021.

The report added that this age group experienced the greatest growth over this period, with the number of households aged 65 and over rising by 38% and those aged between 34 and 44 going up by 21%.

Private renters in the 16 to 34-year-old rose by around 3%.

Middle-aged renters want to buy a home but struggle to save

Paragon also found that private renters aged 45 to 64 have a strong desire to own a home but have limited ability to buy.

Nearly half (47%) want to buy a home, but only 29% are actively savings towards a deposit.

Of the 19% that are saving to buy a home, a quarter have their finances in place and are searching, whilst only 4% are in the process purchasing. The remaining 71% are still saving.

Income is also an issue, with 14% of the 45 to 64 group’s annual income exceeding £50,000 and quarter earn less that £10,000 per year and a similar number earn between £30,000 and £50,000.

Paragon said that this limits the ability of tenants in this age bracket to save for a deposit and impacts their ability to secure and pay a mortgage.

Older tenants likely to rent for longer and stay in one home

Tenants aged over 45 have also rented for longer, lived in more properties and tend to stay longer in one home.

More than a fifth of those aged between 45 and 64 (22%) have lived in the private rented sector (PRS) for over 15 years and a further 17% had lived in the sector between 11 and 15 years.

This compares to those under 45, with nearly seven in 10 living in the sector less than five years.

Around 23% of over 45s have lived in their current rental home for more than 10 years and 22% have occupied the same home for between five and 10 years.

Paragon said that this suggests “older tenants view their rental home as long-term accommodation”.

Long-term rental not just a young person’s issue

Richard Rowntree, Paragon Bank’s managing director of mortgages, said: “There is a perception that the PRS is home to the young when, in fact, over half of tenants are aged over 35 and the greatest increase in the number of households is in the middle-aged 45 to 64-age bracket.

“Too much policy focus is on getting younger tenants on the housing ladder. Whilst this is important, the government should also consider the need to provide a home to older tenants who live in the PRS for the long term.”

He continued that with just a fifth aged 45 to 64 actively saving to buy a home, this “suggests that they will remain in rented accommodation for the long term”.

Rowntree said: “This has implications for the types of property that this group will live in as they age; for example, there may need to be an increase in one or two-bedroom properties and landlords will need to be open to property adaptions. Ensuring there is a supply of property in the PRS to cater for their needs is vital.”