High housing costs has resulted in the proportion of middle-income families who own their home falling from 69 per cent in 1995 to 50 per cent today, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).
The number of middle-income families renting privately has risen from 11 per cent to 27 per cent, as prospective first-time buyers find themselves starting a family before they can afford to buy a home, as more people join ‘Generation Rent’.
Living in rented accommodation means there is a risk that the family can at any time receive their two months’ notice, requiring them to move out. This can understandably cause a lot of distress on both the parents and children, and there is also a risk of children being raised in damp, cramped and potentially dangerous conditions.
According to Shelter, the housing charity, 22 per cent of people in a relationship have delayed having children, or expect to do so, because they are unable to afford suitable accommodation. A lack of supply of affordable housing has helped housing costs outstrip income, leaving many ‘trapped’ renting.
“With house prices now completely out of sync with average wages, private renting is no longer just a stepping stone for students and young professionals – it’s the only option for millions of families,” said Roger Harding, Shelter’s director of policy and campaigns.
“Expensive, unstable private renting leaves many families struggling to make ends meet each month, let another save up for a home where they can put down roots. And our drastic shortage of affordable homes means that at Shelter we hear from families every day whose wages simply won’t cover their sky high rents.
There are a number of government schemes aimed at helping first-time buyers get onto the property ladder, such as the Help-to-Buy ISA. However, price caps in place mean that not everyone is able to take advantage of this scheme.