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No place to call home: the social impacts of housing undersupply on young people

It is well known that there is an undersupply of housing in the UK. Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, we ar e failing to provide enough homes for our people. The social impact of this – particularly on young people – is less well known. Faced with high levels of youth unemployment, stagnant wages and tuition fees, this generation of young people face different challenges to their parents. In the wider context of high prices for homeownership and r entals, insufficient homes and rising living costs, young people are finding it tough.

This report explores the social impacts of the undersupply of housing on young people. Through quantitative and qualitative research, we found that, although it is still a strong aspiration – with 88 per cent of young people aged 18–30 wanting to own their own home in 10 years’ time – homeownership is thought to be unattainable for a majority. Fifty-one per cent of those curr ently renting thought that they would not be able to own in the next 10 years.

Young people were realistic about needing to compromise and make sacrifices. But, unable to see how this aspiration can be fulfilled, a sense of frustration has set in. Current options were seen to be stifling ambition, car eer goals and family plans. And this often-negative impact is affecting a significant majority of young people. Many of their parents, as well, are caught in the position of wanting to help their childr en to buy while still securing their own future at the same time.

House-building has not kept pace with demographic change
The underlying issue is that house-building has not kept pace with demographic and social trends, creating a basic problem of undersupply. There has been significant growth in the number of households over the last few decades, largely driven by an ageing population. Other factors which help to explain the incr ease in households include a greater diversity of family types and the decision of many people to delay their plans to start a family. In response to these pressures, house-building has simply not kept pace. Factors like planning constraints and a lack of finance go some way towar ds
explaining this shortage. With future projections suggesting that these trends are likely to continue, there are significant implications for a majority of young people.

Set against that background, our research has unearthed the voices of young people and in doing so has enriched our understanding of the some of the most pr ofound challenges.