Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Flying the Nest; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images Our Columnist Considers the Plight of Kids Who Can't Leave Homethe Naked Eye

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Flying the Nest; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images Our Columnist Considers the Plight of Kids Who Can't Leave Homethe Naked Eye

Article excerpt

Byline: Charles Saatchi

CHILDREN no longer rush to spread their wings, and fly the nest to freedom.Growing numbers of teenagers are happy to remain living with their parents long into adulthood.

The percentage has doubled in recent decades -- nearly half of 20 to 34-year-olds now rely on their mothers and fathers for a home. The average age is around 27, taking the figures to record levels, particularly in London.

The numbers keep rising due to a frustrating combination of high unemployment, rising rents and stricter mortgage criteria.

Young adults were the hardest hit in the economic downturn, with the percentage of unemployed people who live with their parents more than double the number of those who live independently.

It also coincided with a period when house prices rose sharply in relation to incomes. In 1996, first-time buyers needed to raise 2.7 times their salary to afford to buy a home. Today that figure is much closer to five times their earnings.

With average full-time pay around PS26,500 annually and the average price for a home in London reaching half a million pounds for the first time, it's unsurprising that the only homes for so many young people are those they grew up in.

At the same time, as if a perfect storm was being created for the young, the collapse in the availability of mortgages for buyers with small deposits prevented many hopeful homebuyers from leaving the nest. Although mortgage acceptances have generally begun to improve, prices have only increased exponentially, and this isn't helped by the ongoing problem of a lack of houses to buy.

Even renting is proving difficult to afford. The cost is close to a record high, and although many 25 to 35-yearolds may not want to still live with their parents the standard rent of PS736 a month makes any other option near impossible. …

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