In Depth

One in three millennials will never be able to afford their own home

New analysis suggests ‘cradle to grave’ renting may become the new normal

new houses

One third of Brits born between 1981 and 2000 - the so-called millennial generation - are likely to continue renting into their retirement, according to a forecast from the Resolution Foundation think-tank.

The foundation’s Home Improvement report found that, if current trends continue, less than half of millennials will own their own homes by the age of 45.

That rate will rise in the years after, as aging millennials inherit money or property from older generations, but around a third will remain without property when they reach retirement.

“Britain's housing problems have developed into a full-blown crisis over recent decades,” said Lindsay Judge, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation. A shortage of housing stock whas driven property prices beyond the reach of many, with young people “bearing the brunt”.

Home ownership - long a cornerstone of British self-image - has been in steady decline in recent years. The percentage of homes occupied by their owners rather than by tenants has dropped by around 10% over the past decade, hitting a record low of 63.4% in 2016.

“By contrast, the private rented sector has ballooned in size”, says The Guardian. As of 2017, more than 4.5m households in England are occupied by private tenants - almost double the 2.3m recorded in 2004.

Four in ten 30-year-olds now live in privately rented accomodation, “double the rate for generation X and four times that for baby boomers at the same age”, says City AM, “reflecting that millennials' access to social housing has fallen as fast as their home ownership rates”.

In response to the surge in private rentals, the Resolution Foundation recommends introducing European-style indeterminate tenancies to bring greater stability for tenants. In Germany, for instance, “tenancies last, on average, for 11 years, compared to 2.5 years in the UK”, says The Independent.

In the long-term, however, says The Herald, politicians must take major action to resolve the shortage of affordable housing “before it becomes untenable”.

While millennials’ parents “often bought their first houses in their 20s and moved up the ladder with relative ease”, says the paper, for today’s young people, that idea is “nothing but a pipe dream”.

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