The linear path through life – grow up, get married, buy a house, have kids – is no longer so clear-cut. Data from the Office of National Statistics show that millennials are waiting longer to settle down and have children – both through choice and because of their economic situation – and that, as house prices have been rising by around 7% per year since 1980, the average age of first-time buyers has also increased, currently sitting at 30.
According to a new study by McCann Truth Central, 30 is also about the age that it’s considered normal to be still living at home with the 'rents. Their Truth About Youth survey interviewed 33,000 people worldwide – 11,000 of whom were aged between 16 and 30 – and found that answers to the question "At what age is it socially acceptable to still be living with parents?" ranged from 26 to 37. UK respondents decided on 29.
Living with your parents well into your 20s is becoming an increasingly common story; ONS data indicate that the number of 20 to 34-year-olds living with parents has increased 25% since 1996, with the latest figures saying 3.3 million people in that age group live at home.
But for both single people and those who are coupled up, being stuck at mum and dad’s can make finding, or maintaining, a relationship difficult. Getting plastered and crashing out in your own bed is harder when your parents are asleep in the next room – as is trying to clean up the resulting puke in secret, apparently.
How did a generation of people end up in this situation? And what's the financial way out? Ahead, we talk to a number of young people about their living situations, how they got there, and the pitfalls of trying to have a decent love life in unusually close quarters.