Housing crisis forces millennials to rent ‘from cradle to grave’

Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
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Up to a third of millennials face renting from the “cradle to the grave” as they bear the brunt of Britain’s housing crisis, a think-tank has warned.

The Resolution Foundation said a third of those born between 1981 and 2000 could still be renting by the time they claim their pensions, and up to half could be renting either privately or in the social housing sector into their 40s, should home ownership growth follows the “weak pattern” of the 2000s.

The think-tank said “radical reform” is needed to make the private rental sector fit for raising children and retirement “because a generation of young people face the prospect of never owning their own home”.

In the new report, the Foundation said policy has failed to catch up with the fact that bringing up children in the private rental sector has become mainstream.

More families now rent than ever before, a record 1.8m, up from just 600,000 15 years ago, the report said.

Researchers found that renters in Yorkshire and the Humber have faced inflation-busting rent hikes in 53 times in the 162 months between January 2006 and February 2018.

Last month, a study by the National Housing Federation showed the average cost of a home in Yorkshire was now £181,740 - seven times the average wage, and an increase for the sixth year in a row.

The Housing Federation research also found that rents had risen seven per cent since 2013 and now cost an average of £573 a month - although variation abounds, with the average monthly rent in York above the national average at £866.

The Resolution Foundation warned the trend to rent could have an impact on the welfare budget. It’s report said that a “rising share of retiree renters, coupled with an ageing population, could more than double the housing benefit bill for pensioners from £6.3bn today to £16bn by 2060 - highlighting how everyone ultimately pays for failing to tackle Britain’s housing crisis”.

Lindsay Judge, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Britain’s housing problems have developed into a full-blown crisis over recent decades and young people are bearing the brunt.

“While there have been some steps recently to support house building and first-time buyers, up to a third of millennials still face the prospect of renting from cradle to grave.

“If we want to tackle Britain’s ‘here and now’ housing crisis we have to improve conditions for the millions of families living in private rented accommodation.

“That means raising standards and reducing the risks associating with renting through tenancy reform and light touch rent stabilisation.”

The Foundation said indeterminate tenancies should be introduced as the sole form of contract in England and Wales, following Scotland’s lead, to give renters stability. Rent rises should be limited to the Consumer Prices Index measure of inflation over three-year periods. A new housing tribunal should be set up, to ensure landlords and tenants can have disputes resolved swiftly, the Foundation argued.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokeswoman said: “Figures show that we are seeing the highest number of first-time buyers for more than a decade.

“But we’re also helping to ensure that everyone has a safe and decent home by giving councils stronger powers to crack down on bad landlords and consulting on stronger protections for tenants themselves.”