This Is How Many Brits Think They’ll Be Renting For Life

Photographed by Meg O'Donnell
#GenerationRent isn't just a trendy Twitter hashtag. According to new research, two in five tenants living in private rented property believe they'll never be able to buy their own home.
Interestingly, the research by YouGov and Halifax found that slightly older tenants are more likely to believe that renting for life is "the new normal". Whereas a third of tenants aged between 35 and 44 said they view renting for life as normal, just 14% of 18 to 24 year olds came to the same conclusion.
The average age of a first-time buyer in the UK is now 31 – a year older than a decade ago. However, the research also found that the number of first-time buyers in the UK has more than doubled since 2009, suggesting many millennials haven't given up on the property-owning dream just yet.
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“Taking that first step onto the property ladder remains a rite of passage for many," said Russell Galley of Halifax. “Last year, first-time buyers accounted for the majority of the mortgage market for the first time in well over 20 years. This shows that with the right support and a few sacrifices, home ownership can remain an attainable goal."
Of course, making "a few sacrifices" become increasingly difficult when a sizeable chunk of your income goes on rent. Though research has found that tenants in their 20s spend an average of 34% of their pre-tax income on rent, in many parts of the UK young women are actually spending much more than this.
Meanwhile, research has found that more young people are avoiding living in big cities – where there are often greater job prospects and larger salaries – because of those prohibitively high rents.
In 2016, the Resolution Foundation estimated that British millennials would spend £53,000 in rent by the time they turn 30, which means that making "a few sacrifices" to get on the property ladder requires a lot more than giving up lattes and avocado toast on a Sunday.
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