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‘Generation rent’ locked out of housing market

Tahmina Mannan
Written By:
Tahmina Mannan

The shortage of affordable homes in England is locking young people out of the property market for more than a decade, says Shelter.

According to a study by the housing charity, ‘generation rent’ is finding it difficult to get on the property ladder because of challenges saving up enough for a deposit.

The study looked at young people’s earnings, house prices, rents, and how much they are spending on essentials, in local authorities across the country.

It found that couples who start a family in their twenties could be saving for a deposit for 12 years – nearly double the time faced by childless couples.

In some cases this could mean their children would be in secondary school before they own a home.

Couples without a child face an average of six and a half years of saving, and almost double that time in London (11 years).

Single people face the greatest barrier to home ownership – this group could potentially take up to 14 years to save enough for a deposit unless they find a partner.

The report said that this often traps single people into private renting or forcing them to live with their parents well into adulthood.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Despite working hard and saving what they can each month, today’s young people face life-changing choices between starting a family or buying a home of their own. Imagine a 28 year old couple weighing up their options: they can save for a home now and put off starting a family until they’re 35, or they can start a family now but accept they’ll be renting until their child is a teenager.

“Meanwhile, single people face an added pressure to either find a partner or to live with their parents well into their thirties if they’re ever to have a hope of saving enough for a deposit.

“It seems the only ones with any hope left are the few who can resort to the bank of mum and dad. But with so many parents already feeling the squeeze, this is not a sustainable option.

“When we have young people working hard to save up for a home of their own to no avail, it is obvious that the government has to start meeting people halfway. Unless we see radical action to tackle our chronic shortage of affordable homes, the next generation of young people will find it even harder to find a place to call their own.”

Shelter points to figures released earlier this month, showing that the number of affordable homes completed in 2012/13 was down by 29% from the previous year, contributing to a ‘chronic undersupply of homes which forces up rents and pushes house prices and deposits further out of reach’.

Shelter has created an online calculator for people to find out how long it would take them or their children to save for a home of their own in their area, based on their individual circumstances.