Housing Crisis Causing a Surge in Young Adults Living at Home

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Nearly a million more young adults are now living with their parents than 20 years ago, research into the housing crisis suggests.

A quarter of 20 to 34-year-olds now live with their parents, a third higher than in 1997, according to the think tank Civitas.

The research suggests that higher house prices, more expensive bills and a decline in social housing have fuelled the rise in young people staying at home.

Civitas editorial director Daniel Bentley said: “As owner-occupation and social housing have each become more difficult to enter, hundreds of thousands of young adults have taken one look at the high rents in the private rented sector and decided to stay with their parents a bit longer instead.”

The biggest increase in the trend was among 23-year-olds; 20 years ago 27% lived with their parents, compared with 49% in 2017.

The growth in young adults staying at home across this period has been strongest in London, where house prices are highest, with an increase of 41% in 20 years.

In cheaper areas, such as north-east England, there was an increase of only 14%. In Yorkshire and Humber, there was an increase of 17%.

Umar Parkes, 22, an estate agent who lives with his mother in London, said: “The figures don’t surprise me. I almost feel like I’m born a generation too late…I don’t know anyone, from the top of my head, younger than 30 who has purchased a property.”

Population science journal, Demographic Research, has found that in addition to housing costs, the age at which relationships and families begin has increased over time, leading more 23 to 34-year-olds to live at home.

More young people are also going to university, leaving them financially dependent on their parents for longer.

Civitas suggests that there has been a ‘collapse in single living’, as those who do move out are far more likely to live with partners or friends.

Data from the Office for National Statistics has been used in the study to look at average household sizes. From 1951 to 2001 average size fell from 3.3 people per household to 2.36 people. By 2017 it had risen to 2.39 people.

The government uses projections about how many houses are likely to be formed to develop house-building targets. Bentley has said: “Building new homes in line with household growth during this period would entrench the under supply of housing for decades to come.”

The Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey, said: “These figures should shake the government out of their complacency. Home ownership has been in freefall for younger people and the number of new genuinely low-cost homes being built has fallen to near-record lows.”

Polly Neate, the Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “Shelter has found that we need 3 million new social homes in the next 20 years, including for young families unable to get on the housing ladder. This requires bold action. The cost of not acting is far greater.”

Oliver Murphy

Image: [Pixabay]