‘Generation rent’ families double in 10 years

1 July 2013

Mother with her partner and two young children

The number of families renting their home has doubled over the past ten years, as more and more people are priced out of home ownership.

The latest Census figures from the Office of National Statistics show that 1 in 5 families in England – equivalent to 1.2 million households - now rent from a private landlord, a number that has doubled since 2001. The proportion of families who own their home has dropped by 13%.

Shelter is warning that unless the Government builds more affordable homes to tackle the housing shortage, more families will join ‘generation rent’ and be forced to bring up their children in unstable private rented homes, or living at home with their own parents.

Latest figures from Nationwide show that house prices have risen again by 1.9%, to an average £168,941.

Shelter's report, released last month, showed that couples who start a family in their twenties could face a twelve-year wait until they can save enough for a deposit – nearly double the time faced by childless couples.

Kirsten Robinson lives in a rented house near Basingstoke with her partner and their two children. They live with the constant threat that they could be given two months’ notice by their landlord, and can’t afford to buy a home in their local area.

Kirsten said: ‘Knowing that we could be asked to leave at any time is a constant worry, but we simply can’t save enough each month to be able to afford a deposit. I’m a teacher and most people my age who own a house were helped out by their family; if that’s not an option then buying a family home is totally out of reach in our area.’

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive, said: ‘These figures show that renting is no longer the preserve of the young and the mobile; more and more families are joining the ranks of ‘generation rent’ because they are priced out of a home of their own.

‘Despite working hard and saving each month, the reality is that home ownership has become a distant dream for many, leaving more families to bring up their children in short-term lets that don’t provide the stability they need.

‘A lucky few can look to the Bank of Mum and Dad for help, but this shouldn’t be the only way for first-time buyers and young families to able to afford a home of their own.

‘Last week, the Government’s Spending Review failed priced-out families by continuing decades of underinvestment in building the homes we need. Unless this changes, tomorrow’s young people and families will find it even harder to find an affordable home and get on in life.'

Find out more about Shelter's campaigns for more affordable homes