Rising Rents Mean Young Adults Will Spend Three Times More On Housing In Their Lifetime
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The cost of living crisis is strong-arming the UK into a socioeconomic disaster that experts have branded ‘unprecedented’ - and renters are being hit harder than most.
While the spiralling cost of living is being felt across the generations, research shows under-30s are being disproportionately hit by skyrocketing housing expenses, leaving many worried about their ability to pay rent.
Rayen, a 25-year-old hospitality worker living in London, told LADbible of the devastating toll the cost of living crisis and rising rents have taken on his health.
“It’s really impacted my mental health,” he explained. “I don’t really go out anymore and sometimes I have to pick between seeing a movie and being able to afford a single drink.”
Rayen is currently working at one of ‘London’s biggest museums’, but next week will start a new job at a startup, where he says the pay is better.
He added: “My savings are nearly extinct. I’ve been looking for a new place to rent, but the prices are ridiculous.
“I see so many single bedrooms in five-person flats, bills excluded, where the rent is £800+ a month. If you want to rent somewhere decent, you can’t find anywhere below £800-900 a month.
“It’s ridiculous and I’m tired of it. We need rent regulations because this has all become too much.”
Emphasising the impossibility of meeting such high rent demands on his current salary, Rayen offered an insight into just how strained his finances are.
“I get paid weekly on Friday, and recently had run out of money by Saturday after paying for rent and food,” he revealed.
Research carried out by property website Zoopla found that rent increases hit a 13-year high in November as demands for properties doubled, in turn pushing those unable to keep up with the growing cost of rent back into their parents’ homes.
Luke Murphy, an associate director at the Institute for Public Policy Research, told LADbible: “Millions of renters are already struggling to pay the bills as the cost of essentials like energy and food rockets, and many are left choosing whether to eat, heat their home or pay the rent.”
The property market has prevented younger generations from buying somewhere to live, with the sharp rise of house prices outstripping wage growth, meaning millennials are much more likely to rent than baby boomers.
In October, The Resolution Foundation think tank published its Intergenerational Audit, which revealed people in their early 30s will spend three times as much on housing costs as previous generations.
Similar research carried out in 2017 concluded that four out of every ten 30 year olds are living in private rented accommodation, in stark contrast to one in ten 50 years ago.
The Resolution Foundation also highlighted that millennials are far more likely to be living with their parents in their mid-20s than previous generations were.
Rent rises coupled with the fact that the gross weekly wage of 18-21 year olds has fallen by nearly a fifth since 1997 spells serious trouble for the UK’s under-30s.
Factor in surging household fuel bills and climbing supermarket prices and it soon becomes clear that young people’s prospects are looking bleaker by the day.
Rayen’s inability to cover living costs was echoed by 28-year-old father-of-two Jamie Meskill in Middlesbrough, who told LADbible of his ‘crippling’ financial situation.
“Thankfully, I don’t drink, because I couldn’t even afford it if I wanted to. My wages are crippling. Weekly, I pay more than £100 in tax, £150 in rent and my bus fare to work is £30.”
He added: “On top of that, there’s also food, so I rely on bailouts from my parents to get by week in, week out. I’ve had to stop saving for a house and only spend money on meals.
“All my food shopping is done at Aldi and it’s hard to even pay for things like council tax. I’m really falling behind.
"My phone has been disconnected for months and I’m worried about the next few weeks and months, because it’s only going to get worse.”
While the cost of living crisis has scuppered Jamie’s hopes of home ownership, other young workers are simply unable to find homes to rent within budget.
Saška, a 26-year-old product designer, branded London’s rental market ‘outrageous’.
“I just find it outrageous that I can’t find a room in central London for less than £900 where I have enough space to put a desk in my room,” she explained.
“My worry is the cost of rent itself in London. If we look at other capital cities in Europe, like Paris or Brussels, people can find studios or two-beds for less than that and I’m struggling to find a room in a shared flat for that price.”
And it’s not just tenants feeling the squeeze. As record bills faced by renters impact their ability to meet rent each month, landlords are also faced with extra costs and have even resorted to taking out insurance.
Simon Taylor, a marketing executive at Alan Boswell Insurance Brokers, told LADbible: “We have seen a massive spike in landlords purchasing our rent guarantee insurance product. The data we have compounds the fact that landlords are worried about renters not being able to pay.”
Also expressing concern to LADbible was Ravi Davda, who owns a property portfolio in Stoke-on-Trent with his wife.
Ravi emphasised that the cost of living is also rising for landlords and that not everyone who lets properties are millionaires.
He said: “The cost of living is rising for us too. Most landlords become landlords by accident and aren't millionaires. Yes, this doesn't apply to all, but most are in a similar boat to everyone else."
Ravi, who is the CEO of Rockstar Marketing, added: “I've had tenants in the past find out my details and harass me on Facebook. I've had people before saying it's landlords’ fault that house prices and rental prices are rising and that I'm greedy for owning property to let.”
It’s also worth noting that some of the tenants we spoke to expressed that their landlords have been understanding amid the cost of living crisis by keeping rent the same year-on-year and making sure bills are included.
Sadie*, a 27-year-old actor and writer living in London told LADbible: “Fortunately my landlords have been great. So my bills were included with my rent and they kept my rent low over the four years I lived with them.”
However, Sadie is now back on the rental market as her previous landlords are selling their house, and she was quick to express dismay at the cost of a standard room.
“It’s opened my eyes to how expensive the average room is. What’s sadder is that the rooms aren’t even nice, yet they’re asking for double the price. I’m going to have to budget more for sure. I wasn’t even living a ‘lavish’ life before is what my greatest concern is.”
Worryingly, the mounting price of rent is unlikely to stall anytime soon. Figures from London estate agency Knight Frank forecast a 4 percent increase in UK rents this year alone.
Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, explained: “We expect rents to keep rising in the foreseeable future due to a shortage of supply, which means some tenants face a tough time as the cost of living squeeze gets tighter.”
The rising price of rent is a major concern for Jasmine Basran, policy manager for Crisis, the UK national charity for people experiencing homelessness.
Jasmine told LADbible that ‘everyone is feeling the squeeze in these unprecedented times, especially younger people’.
She spoke about the horrific decisions the cost of living crisis is forcing people to make and said the charity is concerned about the rising costs of rent across the UK.
“We’re worried about the costs of rent. We’re starting to see them really soar,” she explained, pointing to the harmful impact of the government’s housing benefits freeze.
Jasmine continued: “A huge thing is the fact that housing benefit has been frozen for the second year. It’s been frozen at a time when the government has also cut support for local governments.”
Pointing to the government’s 2021 decision to cut the funding given to councils in England and Wales for struggling tenants (Discretionary Housing Payments), Jasmine said the hit taken by local councils will only exacerbate the situation.
“Local authorities have even less to work with, even while housing benefits are frozen. To be frank, we have analysis that shows about 69% of families on low income will have to skip a day of heating and food just to be able to make ends meet.”
“People are facing impossible situations that they just shouldn’t have to when they’re young and wanting to experience as much as possible - especially after two years of a pandemic.”
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: UK News