I wasn't alone. Research from Finder
notes that 6.2 million Brits moved back in with their parents
due to the pandemic, although it suggests that figure might be closer to 10.5 million. COVID-19 wasn't the only reason for the exodus; in 2016, the Office for National Statistics
reported a record number of 20 to 34-year-olds living at home, in part due to rising rents
and prohibitively expensive house prices
. Acutely aware of both, I relished my rare situation: living in a rent-controlled flat in a sought-after part of the city. It’s a testament to the lack of decent housing that I continued to pay my rent when I wasn’t living there, along with millions of other Brits who fled their rentals. Collectively we spent an estimated £2.9 billion
on rent for empty homes during those first three months of lockdown. Having a place in London – even one I didn’t live in – signified that I was still chasing career success, even though I’d long ago become disillusioned with the pursuit.