Bigger houses for parents: the solution to young people’s financial woes?

Parents of young adults are increasingly opting to buy larger properties in order to accommodate their children, who are finding themselves unable to purchase or rent their own home.

Over a fifth of parents who moved home in the last six months reportedly decided to acquire a larger house, a reason stated being that their adult children struggling to make ends meet would then have the option of staying with them.

Many of these parents have resigned themselves to the fact that their children may be staying with them, at least periodically, up until their late twenties.

A number of factors are said to contribute to young people’s widespread inability to become fully independent of their parents. These include:

  • house prices, whose rise outstrips wage growth in many parts of the country, especially the south
  • large amounts of student debt
  • fewer opportunities, and more stringent requirements, for young people attempting to secure employment.

The research comes from the Royal Mail, who questioned users of its mail forwarding service about their new homes. Around 13,000 homeowners were quizzed between October last year and April this year.

21 per cent of respondents stated that their children’s problems with full independence – their lack of money, or of simply being unable to find a property of their own – was a factor in their decision to search for a larger abode.

Andrea Martin, Royal Mail’s managing director of data services, said: ‘It is interesting to see so many people buying larger properties in the expectation that their children will be living with them longer into adulthood.

‘Alongside this, patience is proving a virtue in the housebuying market with people prepared to sit it out to find the right home for them.’

Sir Jon Cunliffe called for action to be taken to stabilise the housing market, saying that it would be ‘dangerous to ignore the momentum that has built up in the UK housing market’.

The Royal Mail’s data also shows that two out of every five parents who have helped their children to buy property are concerned about their own finances later in life.

And the report raised concerns over the possible emotional stress inflicted upon aging parents as they continue to work to accommodate their children into their twenties.

The Office for National Statistics has released figures showing that 3.3 million aged 20- to 34 years old lived with their parents in 2013 – the highest number since it started keeping records in 1996.

 

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