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Young people left out in the cold by housing market

Posted on 18 September 2017 by Aimee Huchet-Bodet, Researcher .
Tags: English Housing Survey, home ownership, renting

Back in 2015, a report by Shelter raised the alarm about the difficulties young people in England face when it comes to owning their own home. The report described how high housing costs and lack of supply were leaving young people either living with their parents or spending years in the private rented sector.

Two years later, the most recent data from the English Housing Survey provides new evidence that young people are increasingly concentrated in the private rented sector, while they tend to be pushed out of social housing and still cannot afford to buy property.

Over the past decade, home ownership has become much less of an option for young people; 56% of 24 to 35 year olds owned their home in 2005-6, compared to 38% a decade later. 

The decline in home ownership isn’t down to a lack of interest, however; 73% people in this age group say they expect to buy a home sometime in the future. Even though young people still represent the majority of those who bought a property for the first time in the last three years, the data show that recent first time buyers are getting older. All of which suggests that financial issues are a real barrier to home ownership for young people.

So if young people are unable to buy a home, where do they live? Almost half of people aged 25 to 34 lived in the private rented sector in 2015-16, compared with less than a quarter in 2005-06. For some groups of young people, this proportion is considerably higher; more than three quarters of full-time students (77%) rented privately in 2015-16.

At the same time, the proportion of young people in the social rented sector has fallen. In 2015-16, 16% of people aged 25 to 34 rented from the social sector (i.e. their home was owned by a local authority or a housing association) compared with 20% in 2005-06.

So many young people end up staying in or moving back to their parents’ home by necessity rather than by choice. Indeed, 35% of young adults living in a household which they didn’t rent or own in their name (a proxy for the parental home) in 2015-16 wanted to move out but couldn’t afford it. Those who don’t have this option end up swelling the ranks of private renters, in a sector which remains characterised by higher housing costs, higher level of dissatisfaction, an older housing stock and in which 28% of dwellings failed to meet the decent home standard in 2015. As well as the financial implications of this, other research suggests this has far-reaching social and personal implications too, with some people taking second jobs or putting off having children and living in lower quality accommodation in order to save for a home. 

 

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