Renting set to be ‘the only game in town’

Renting is set to be ‘the only game in town’, with an extra 1.5 million 18 to 30-year-olds going into private rented accommodation over the next eight years.

An additional half a million young people will be forced to stay with their parents into their thirties, taking the total number of young people still at home to 3.7 million by 2020.

The influential Joseph Rowntree Foundation says that one risk is that pressures on private rental accommodation could force young families out of the sector and into homelessness. The foundation forecasts that around 310,000 more young families will be looking for private rented housing in 2020 compared with today.

In a new report, ‘Housing options and solutions for young people in 2020’, it warns that the influx of youngsters chasing a private rental home will see young families, poorer and vulnerable people finding it hardest to compete for tenancies.

The report is just the latest in a welter of similar documents warning of the growing pressures on the private rented sector as increasing numbers of people are locked out of home ownership.

It warns of a three-tier race to find rented accommodation, with those at the top who can afford to pay rents, a ‘squeezed middle’ group who struggle to pay, and a bottom rung of 400,000 who risk being excluded completely.

Kathleen Kelly, programme manager at the Foundation, said: “Our badly functioning housing system will see those on the lowest incomes really struggling to compete in the competitive rental market of 2020.

“Renting is likely to be the only game in town and young people are facing fierce competition to secure a home in what is an already diminished supply of housing.

“With 400,000 vulnerable young people, including families, on the bottom rung of a three-tier private renting system, we need to avoid turning a housing crisis into a homelessness disaster.”

The Foundation wants to see more homes built, longer tenancies at affordable rents – with the incentive of tax breaks for landlords – and the expansion of local letting agencies to find suitable homes for vulnerable young people.

David Clapham, lead author of the report, added: “With 1.5 million more young people no longer able to become home owners by 2020, it’s vital we take the opportunity to make renting work better.”


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