Living with parents

Most young people assume they will leave home and live in their own place as an independent adult.  But the official statistics show a quarter of under-35s are still living in the parental home.  These figures don’t include students living in temporary accommodation while away studying, but a larger proportion of students are opting to stay at home while studying.  A BBC report shows the cost of buying a home has risen for successive post-war generations and the percentage of income spent on housing has been rising.

Young adults living with their parents, 1996 to 2017 (ONS)
Young adults living with their parents, 1996 to 2017 (ONS)

“A large percentage of 15- to 19-year-olds would be expected to be living with their parents; the number of young adults living with their parents decreases with age. Looking at 20- to 34-year-olds, the number living with their parents has increased from 2.7 million in 1996 to 3.3 million in 2013 (a statistically significant increase) and has since remained around 3.4 million. The percentage living with their parents has risen from 21% in 1996 to 26% in 2017.”

About a third (32%) of males aged 20 to 34 years are now living with their parents, compared to 20% of females.

Why?  Some stay in education and training for longer.  People tend to establish long-term couple-based relationships later and have children at older ages.  A big factor is the  increased costs in renting or buying a home.

The ONS put together a summary article explaining the long-term trend:

  • The percentage of young adults owning their home decreased from 55% in 1996 to 30% in 2015 for 25 to 29 year olds; and from 68% to 46% for 30 to 34 year olds.
  • In 2014, 24% of UK University undergraduates opted to stay at home living with parents whilst studying, compared with 12% in 1996.
  • The average age at first marriage for men in England and Wales was 32 years in 2012 compared with 29 years in 1996.
  • The average age for women in England and Wales to have their first birth was 29 years in 2014 compared with 27 years in 1996.
  • Changes to housing benefit entitlement for those aged under 35 is also likely to have had some impact on young adults being able to leave the parental home.



How much of your area is built on?

You could be forgiven for thinking the most of the UK, with the exception of peripheral upland areas like the Highlands, Yorkshire Moors or Wales, is built over.  However the Corine land cover survey shows that over half of the UK’s land is agriculture, and just over a third is natural or semi-natural.

The European Union database has been compiled by the European Environment Agency; Corine means ‘coordination of information on the environment’.  Using local maps and detailed satellite images, Corine gives us land use information for the whole of the UK. The University of Leicester and the University of Sheffield have been involved in producing the Land Cover Atlas.  There is a map for each of the 391 Local Authority areas of the UK.  The maps were created using open data and open source software and you can download them.

Corine Land Cover Newcastle upon Tyne
Corine Land Cover Newcastle upon Tyne
Copyright rests with the European Commission; Acknowledgement: Produced by the University of Leicester, The Centre for Landscape and Climate Research and Specto Natura and supported by Defra and the European Environment Agency under Grant Agreement 3541/B2012/R0-GIO/EEA.55055 with funding by the European Union.

The most expensive Newcastle homes

Data from the Land Registry has revealed the most expensive individual houses sold in the North East of England during August 2017.  The highest price paid was for a rural property at Hepscott near Morpeth (£999,999).

Gosforth and Jesmond continue to be Newcastle’s hot spots.  A house in The Drive, Gosforth went for £965,000 and one in Mitchell Avenue, Jesmond, for £945,000.

However, the pattern might actually be more mixed – see this post from 17th April 2017:

A new generation of council houses?

Something you may have missed in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tory party conference speech was the promise to deliver a ‘new generation of council houses’.  The speech indicated a change of direction, an admission that the market is ‘broken’ and that not-for-profit and/or state-funded social housing is needed.

‘In her speech, the prime minster promised another £2 billion in addition to the previously announced £7 billion affordable housing programme. The additional money will provide funding for council and housing associations who can “bid for funding” from this new pot. It is also understood that there will be a greater push to increase the supply of public land on which such new social housing may be built.’ Prof Kenneth Gibb

However, the amount of housing promised is actually quite small.

‘…the wheels swiftly fell off when the numbers were crunched. The money, a Conservative briefing note explains, will build only 5,000 extra homes a year. The Tory manifesto stated an aim to build 1.5m homes by 2022.’ The Guardian

Much will depend on what the Government’s green paper actually says. In September Communities secretary Sajid Javid promised a ‘wide-ranging, top-to-bottom review of the issues facing the sector’ including safety, housing quality, the rights of tenants, management, homelessness and wider community issues.

‘The forthcoming green paper on social housing will provide more flesh on the bones – but it needs to create the funding and regulatory environment to enable the not-for-profit and public sectors to build and grow. And to do so on a sustainable basis at genuinely affordable rents.’ Prof Kenneth Gibb

Councils argue local government has to be at the heart of housing solutions:

‘The last time the country built enough homes councils built 40% of them. Our offer is pretty clear, give councils to powers to lead a renaissance in council house building by letting us keep 100% of the sales receipts, and give us the freedoms to borrow to invest and to set rents.’ Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesperson

Theresa May announces £2bn for council homes expansion BBC News (Oct 4th 2017)

Theresa May’s speech and the challenge to expand English social housing
by Prof Kenneth Gibb of the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, University of Glasgow, The Conversation (Oct 5th 2017)

What did May’s speech promise on housing? Not a lot Analysis article by Dawn Foster in The Guardian (Oct 4th 2017)

Javid launches social housing green paper LocalGov  (20 Sep 2017)

Posted 7th Sep 2017

NE England bucks homelessness trends

In September 2017 the National Audit Office stated that homelessness of all kinds has increased ‘significantly’ over the previous six years. In England, 2010-2017, there had been a 134% rise in the number of rise in rough sleepers and a 60% rise in households living in temporary accommodation.

Local authorities in England spent £1.15bn on  homelessness services during 2015-16.

“Homelessness in all its forms has significantly increased in recent years, driven by several factors. Despite this, government has not evaluated the impact of its reforms…  It is difficult to understand why the Department persisted with its light touch approach in the face of such a visibly growing problem. Its recent performance in reducing homelessness therefore cannot be considered value for money.”  Amyas Morse, National Audit Office, 13 September 2017

However, the NAO data shows that in NE England the number of people housed in temporary accommodation declined 36% from 220 in 2010-11 to 140 in 2016-17.  Relative to the rest of England, cases of homelessness prevented was higher and numbers in temporary accommodation or sleeping rough lower.

Why? Among the  reasons given in a Newcastle Chronicle report are firstly that councils have doubled their activity to prevent families from becoming homeless and secondly that private sector rents have not risen as fast as in other areas of England.


Rent trends 2011-17

An experimental price index tracking rents paid to private landlords has been produced by the Office of National Statistics – the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP).    The trend shown is an upwards one from 2011-2017, with rents rising most in London.  However, the new index may not be giving the full picture.  Firstly, the statistics exclude rooms in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) which is a growing part of the private rented sector, particularly for students and young professionals.  Secondly, there is evidence that some private landlords are avoiding declaring income earned from let property and these may not be included.Private rental costs Jan 2011 to July 2017 (source ONS).

Private rental costs Jan 2011 to July 2017 (source ONS).

“Between January 2011 and July 2017, private rental prices in Great Britain increased by 15.0%, strongly driven by the historical growth in private rental prices within London. When London is excluded, private rental prices increased by 10.9% over the same period” IPHRP webpage August 2017

The Valuation Office reports ‘all’ monthly rents recorded between 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 for the North East of England show median rents in the region varying from £433 in Hartlepool to £625 in Newcastle [Maps page 3].  However, the North East had the lowest median rent at £495.  London had the highest median monthly rents and largest variation in rental values, followed by the South East.  The median rent in London (£1,495) was more than double the English median rent [Summary April 2016-March 2017].

Totally accurate statistics for private rentals, compared to those for council housing, may be difficult to get.  Newham council in London estimates the tax collectors may be losing £200m a year in London alone after finding half its 27,000 landlords had failed to register for self-assessment [The Guardian 13 Aug 2017].

“HMRC’s Let Property Campaign was launched in 2014 amid concerns that up to 1m buy-to-let landlords are not declaring their rental income. HMRC said at the time that it believed landlords were avoiding around £550m in tax, although Newham’s experience may suggest that the figure could be much higher.” The Guardian 13 Aug 2017

Last edited 3rd Sep 2017.

Bring back the prefabs?

A recent letter to the editor of The Guardian sang the praises of prefabricated housing (prefabs) describing them as “imaginative and wonderful dwellings” that helped to solve the post-war housing shortage after 1945.
Moredun prefabs, Edinburgh

“These prefabs were undoubtedly very small, but their kitchens and bathrooms would have been a revelation to people whose previous dwellings would have had shared outside toilets and no running hot water.  My in-laws lived in central London and were not bombed but they did not get such facilities, that we today consider essential, until the London county council rehoused them in 1959. It is very easy to sneer at efforts like the introduction of these dwellings from our 21st-century expectations but all progress has to be judged against the needs of its time.” Norman Bone, Derby The Guardian May 18 2017

For the historical background, the University of the West of England’s history of council housing covers the origins of the shortage and the prefabricated bungalows built.  The Excalibur Estate was one such development of prefabs – meant to last 10 years, but still being lived in in the 2010s (Municipal Dreams blog post 18 March 2014).  Visit the Prefab Museum to learn why these instant homes have their fans.

Could 21st century prefabs be part of the answer to current problems?  Urban Splash who build ‘off site’ homes certainly think so. L&G Homes are also pursuing what they call modular construction methods.

“…off-site-built homes can be produced in about half the time of traditional construction as the house itself can be built in the factory while foundations are being laid on site” The Guardian 26th January 2017

Today’s prefabs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and have given architects a chance to experiment as Inhabit demonstrate.  You can even build your own prefabricated home – as they have been doing in the Netherlands for some time (The Guardian 25 Nov 2011).  Alternatively you can have a custom-built home (Redruth, Cornwall; Graven Hill, near Bicester, Oxfordshire). Perhaps a slightly less Grand Design but without a lot of the hassle.

“Housing experts believe custom build could help tackle Britain’s housing crisis, partly due to the speed of building these homes, which often use prefab elements. The government is targeting 20,000 self- and custom-build homes by 2020, a steep rise from last year’s 12,945.” The Guardian 14th May 2017

Housing problem ‘likely to persist for years’

Just as the UK Parliament is about to be dissolved, two House of Commons select committee reports have been published criticising Government plans to fix a broken housing market and address homelessness in England.

The Housing: State of the Nation report states the number of homes built in England has lagged behind demand for decades making it difficult for people to buy or even afford their rent.

The Capacity in the homebuilding industry report reiterates that the housing market is broken and that to fix the broken market, both risk and volatility must be reduced, especially for small and medium developers.  It states local authorities do not yet have the tools they need to make an effective contribution to solving our housing crisis.  The report suggests self-build has greater potential to contribute to output and that the industry faces a skills crisis and more needs to be done to support further education routes into the construction industry.

“If the country remains dependent on volume housebuilders to meet our housing demand, then the housing market will continue to be shaped by the cyclical nature of the economy. This is why we believe that public money can be used to increase housing output and to protect the sector against market cyclicality.” Capacity in the homebuilding industry [28 April 2017] Summary

Both reports report criticise Department for Communities and Local Government plans, in the February housing white paper, for remaining dependent on the existing market, dominated by a handful of private developers, to build the one million homes it seeks to create. According to the State of the Nation report, even if achieved, this will not come close to meeting actual housing need, meaning problems of affordability and homelessness are ‘likely to persist for years to come’.

The State of the Nation report also criticises the lack of information on the value for money the £21 billion the government spends each year on housing benefit provides.

  • The ‘housing gap’ is growing: Between 2001 and 2010 an average of only 144,000 new homes were completed annually -100,000 fewer per year than in the 1970s.  The Government estimates between 225,000 and 275,000 additional homes are needed each year.  This shortfall increases the scale of the housing gap between supply and demand.  The report recommends Government publish a ‘housing gap’ statistic.
  • It points to the growing problem of homelessness, with the number of families living in temporary accommodation rising from 50,000 in 2011–12 to 72,000 in 2015–16.  (NB: The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 received Royal Assent on 27th April – see Homelessness page.)
  • It recommends research be done on how many non-decent homes in the private rented sector are being subsidised through housing benefit, the total amount of housing benefit this represents, and ways to raise the quality of the housing government subsidises.

“Too often, the Government is subsidising landlords in the private rented sector to provide homes below a decent standard.” Housing: State of the Nation [25 April 2017] Conclusion.

“Not only does becoming homeless people represent a terrible blight on people’s lives, it also places additional strain on public spending: councils’ spending on temporary accommodation amounted to £840 million in 2015–16, a real-terms rise of nearly half (46%) in just five years.” Housing: State of the Nation [25 April 2017] Conclusion.

Updated 29th April 2017 to include home building report

Most expensive streets in Newcastle

The Grove, Gosforth, mostly dating from the interwar 1919-39 period (May 2014)
The Grove, Gosforth, mostly dating from the interwar 1919-39 period (May 2014)

Back in 2014 figures  based on Land Registry data, giving averages for each road based on the mean of all non-commercial sale prices in 2014, showed that Newcastle had six of the top ten most expensive streets in the North East of England.  All of these streets were in either Jesmond or Gosforth.  Osborne Villas, Jesmond, and Elmfield Road, Gosforth, came top in 2014 and both had averages over £990,000.

Are these still the most expensive?  With new housing and changing tastes are the traditionally popular areas still topping the list?

The Newcastle Chronicle has used Zoopla to try and find out [12 March 2017].  Incidentally Zoopla uses Land Registry data and adjusts this to give a current average property value based on their current estimates; it is reasonably accurate.  Houses in The Grove, Gosforth, (above) sold for an average of £590,375 in the last 12 months and Zoopla puts the current average value at £625,531 [Zoopla search 17 April 2017].

Five of the top ten are in Newcastle and all of these are in Gosforth.  Elmfield Park comes in at £1,088,576 with Graham Park Road just behind at £1,079,198 and Westfield Drive at £934,937.  North Avenue and Elmfield Road also make the top ten.  Surprisingly no other street in Newcastle made the list; there were none from Jesmond!

However, according to a Lloyd’s Bank report Jesmond continues to be popular with professionals with house buyers prepared to pay  £73,700 more than average to live there, compared to the surrounding areas, making it one of the hottest property spots in the country to live in.  Property in Jesmond costs on average £268,877 while for the city as a whole it is £195,177 – a 38% premium [Chronicle 17 April 2017].

Don’t be deceived by averages.  Although there are currently houses for sale above the million mark on Zoopla (17 April 2017) the highest prices being sought tend to be for properties in Ponteland and Woolsington just outside the city boundary.  Some detached houses in Fenham and Heaton are also being marketed at over £700,000, so the picture is perhaps more varied than the top ten suggests.

No one turned away

The Homelessness Reduction Act received Royal Assent on April 27th 2017 [BBC News March 20 2017; (27 April 2017).

Councils are being given time to prepare and the Government will need time to provide guidance.  However, it has been announced local authorities will have £61 million over two years to start delivering the new duties in the Act. The Government has said it will review  how the duties are working within that two years.

This was a private member’s bill introduced by Conservative MP Bob Blackman following an influential Crisis report. The Bill received government backing. It places a new duty on local authorities in England to assist people threatened with homelessness within 56 days and to assess, prevent and relieve homelessness for all eligible applicants including single homeless people. In short, no one should be turned away [Crisis Bill in a nutshell pdf].  It builds on measures introduced in Wales and elsewhere which seek to prevent eviction [policy fact sheet 1(pdf)].

“In a nutshell, the Homelessness Reduction Bill transforms the help councils are expected to provide to homeless people.” Alice Ashworth, Crisis blog 23 March 2017

Critics have described it as ‘a small step in the right direction’ but have pointed out adequate funding is required [Dawn Foster, The Guardian 27 Jan 2017]. Without funding Shelter say there could be unintended  ‘gate-keeping’ of services and repeat homelessness (Shelter briefing on the Bill).

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association – which represents England’s councils, said: “It is clear that legislative change alone will not resolve homelessness. It is crucial that the government recognise and address the wider factors that are increasing homelessness, such as the lack of affordable housing and welfare reforms. Without this, the bill will struggle to achieve its aim of reducing homelessness.  Councils need powers and funding to address the widening gap between incomes and rents, resume their historic role as a major builder of new affordable homes and join up all local services – such as health, justice and skills. This is the only way to deliver our collective ambition to end homelessness.” [As reported by BBC News March 20 2017]

Edited to reflect Royal Assent from Bill to Act, 28th April 2017