Young couples ‘likely to put lives on hold to get on housing ladder’

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Young couples are “putting heir lives on hold” because of what Labour called the “shocking” cost of housing, figures show.

So-called millennials – those born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s – are twice as likely as 35-54 year-olds to delay having children in an attempt to get on to the property ladder, according to numbers analysed by the mortgage broker, Trussle.

The study also revealed that since 1978, the average house price has risen by 1,382 per cent, from £14,236 to £211,000. Meanwhile the average annual UK salary has risen from £3,269 to £26,500, pricing many families out of the housing market.

Ishaan Malhi, chief executive of Trussle, said young people were “being forced to put their lives on hold in a bid to join the property ladder”, while Labour’s shadow secretary for housing John Healey described the situation as “shocking”.

As part of the study, more than 2,000, participants were asked what sacrifices they had made in order to buy their first home.

Some 15 per cent of buyers aged 18-34 said they had delayed having children, compared to seven per cent of 35 to 54 year-olds and five per cent of over 55s.

Mr Healey added: “It’s shocking that the number of under-45 home-owners has fallen by a million since 2010, with young people on ordinary incomes increasingly having to make big sacrifices to buy that special first home.”

The new findings support previous research into the relationship between family planning and the decline of affordable housing. In 2016, a Shelter and YouGov study revealed that due to the housing crisis, nearly a quarter of couples were either already delaying parenthood or planning to in the future.

Hannah Slater, policy manager at Generation Rent, said: “With renting the norm for millennials, starting a family is becoming a much harder choice.

“Housing costs are driving rising child poverty rates, so many families are forced to make a choice between delaying or not having children, or having children but living in poverty in insecure homes.”

The survey also highlighted that 15 per cent of millennials had delayed getting married.