3m young adults still live with their parents
About one in three men and one in six women aged 20-34 still live at home, according ONS figures, due to high rents and house prices and other costs
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 29 May 2012 12.14 BST
Almost 3 million people aged 20-34 were living with their parents in 2011, a 20% increase on the number in 1997, official figures show.
The data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that while in 1997 one in four men and one in seven women aged 20-34 lived at home, by 2011 the proportions had increased to one in three men and one in six women.
The ONS said that while there were a number of reasons why 1.8 million young men and 1.1 million young women were now living with their parents, “it is noteworthy that the increase over the past decade coincides with an increase in the average price paid by first-time homebuyers of 40% between 2002 and 2011″.
As well as rising house prices, young adults have been hit by higher university costs, increasing rents and a credit squeeze which has seen banks and building societies shy away from offering mortgages at high loan-to-values.
In December, the Insolvency Service revealed people aged between 25 and 34 were the biggest users of debt relief orders, which allow borrowing of up to £15,000 to be written off, but have an impact on a borrower’s credit record.
Although in recent months the number of 95% mortgages advertised by lenders has increased, reports from would-be first-time buyers suggest lenders are still wary of granting loans and are only doing so to those with the cleanest of credit records.
“This situation is only going to get worse. Although we are no longer seeing the double-digit house price growth of a few years ago, lenders are now demanding hefty deposits,” said Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.
“Unless parents can dig deep into their own pockets for money to help with the deposit, they will be acting as landlords to their offspring for much longer than they may have imagined.”
Although house prices and rents are highest in London, the ONS figures show it actually had the lowest proportion of young people living at home, with one in five overall. This is largely due to the influx of young people from outside the capital seeking employment and study opportunities.
In contrast, in Northern Ireland 35.3% of young adults were living with their parents. The ONS said this was partly because it is more feasible to commute to work or university and remain living with parents than in other parts of the UK, and partly because the proportion of people cohabiting was around half of that observed in the rest of the UK.
Angus Hanton, co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation, a group campaigning for fairness between generations, said: “We suspect this shows the degree of intergenerational unfairness prevalent in our society. Rather than striking out on their own, younger generations are increasingly locked out of housing and jobs.”
He added: “Government cannot continue to leave young people’s housing and employment prospects to a market stacked in favour of the older generation.”
As might be expected, the research also showed that the percentage of men and women who live with their parents decreases with age.
In 2011, 64% of men and 46% of women aged 20 were living with their parents, while only 7% of 34-year-old males and 2% of 34-year-old females remained in the family home.
The figures show that about 5.5 million people aged between 20 and 34 were living as a couple in their own household, while 1.5 million live with others but not family, and just under 1 million lived alone.