Generation Rent

Home ownership in the UK is at its lowest point in 25 years and for our often lambasted Generation X our prospects of ever buying a house are dwindling by the minute. 


The statistics are scary; of the 14.3 million homeowners in England, only 10% of these are aged between 25 and 34, and only 65.2% of homes are lived in by their owners. In the last 10 or so years the number of people living in private rented accommodation has almost doubled from 2.2 million to 3.9 (The Telegraph).

Young people are being priced out of the market. House prices continue to rise far quicker than the average wage increase making renting or living with parents the only option for the majority of under 35s. It’s an almost impossible situation, our generation is often criticised for expecting everything to just come to us naturally, that we just need to work a little harder, that our parents and grandparents managed to afford houses so we can too. However to put things in perspective statistics from Generation Rent and Shelter, demonstrate that if prices on normal goods had increased as much as house prices had (relatively speaking) since 1952, a chicken would cost £51.18 and four pints of milk £10.45.

There isn't anything wrong with renting as it offers a certain aspect of freedom and affordability in the short run. However, as more and more people are chasing after these rented properties, landlords are given more and more power. As students most of us have probably experienced the common rental property gripes: damp patches, rodent visits, faulty boilers that seem to take forever to be fixed. Given Exeter’s reputation for having some of the highest student rent outside London we are also well aware of the price tag associated with these homes. As renting becomes more common, landlords are under less pressure to offer value-for-money, clean, well-maintained properties given the demand. Windows that won’t shut and heating that doesn’t work are no longer just the domain of students; families with young children that are forced to rent are facing exactly the same issues many of us hoped to leave behind.


The future does seem bleak for those whose dream is to own a home in the near future but as more and more people become aware of the problem there is potential for it to become a real driving force. The next election is not too far away and our generation needs to make a stand for the issues affecting us.


Image Credits: Generation-Rent, The Telegraph