News: Growing number of middle aged now in the private rental sector

Tue, 08 Jan 19

The number of people renting a home aged between 35 and 54 has risen by 15 per cent in the last three years according to research by a lettings agency.

And in a survey of over 2,000 tenants the 35-54 category gave not being able to afford a deposit or not meeting mortgage criteria as the main reasons for not being able to get on the property ladder.

The study, commissioned by Intus Lettings, suggests that the struggle which those renting property face in getting onto the housing market ladder may be worsening, despite house prices dipping in recent weeks. 

The ‘upper half’ of this age group - so, those aged 45 to 54 - has grown by a third since 2016 while just under a fifth of renters aged over 55 believe they’ll never be able to afford to buy a property. Reasons noted in the survey included general affordability and problems getting a mortgage due to age.

These results are supported by a 2018 study by the Department for Work and Pensions which revealed the number of people aged 35-54 who rent has nearly doubled in the last 10 years.

Younger renters were more optimistic about the chances of owning a property in the future according to the Intus research, with 43 per cent of tenants aged between 18 and 24 saying they couldn’t afford a deposit. Most of this age group said they were putting aside less than £50 per month towards one.

Hope McKendrick, lettings manager at Intus Lettings, says: “With the cost of rent rising faster than wages, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of people find themselves unable to save up for a deposit to buy a home well into their 40s, 50s and beyond.

“The survey results revealing that a large proportion of older renters don’t believe they’ll ever be able to buy a home is a particularly worrying trend, as only around one-in-five middle-aged tenants feel renting actually suits their lifestyle.”

For every age group surveyed, affordability was named by far the most important factor when looking for a property to rent, with nearly half of over-45s citing the costs of renting as their biggest concern. More than half of all age groups surveyed also said they’ve been worried about not being able to pay their rent due to financial difficulties on at least one occasion.

McKendrick adds: “Stability can be one of the biggest concerns for those renting a home, from keeping up with rising rents to not knowing if you’ll be in the same home this time next year. Especially as nearly half of renters aged between 35 and 54 live with their children, the pressures can mean added stress for parents and families.”

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