Young people and housing

Young people and housing

What housing challenges will young people face in 2020? How can policy overcome these?



Policy and Research Manager
01904 615911
Research Administrator
01904 615911

Working to improve young people's housing options.

Recent social, political and economic change has generated greater uncertainty in the housing options of young people. This programme has carried out a range of projects to explore what young people want from their housing, what practical options already exist to improve young people's housing outcomes and what housing choices young people will face in 2020.

The chronic shortage of housing underlies many of the problems young people face in trying to find housing. Without fundamental reform to create suitable housing options for young people in 2020, they will be increasingly marginalised in an already badly functioning housing system.

Key issues

  • Around 1.5 million more young people aged 18–30 will be pushed towards living in the private rented sector in 2020, reflecting growing problems of accessing both home-ownership and social renting.
  • The number of home-owners under 30 will almost halve with only 1.3 million under-30s owning their own home in 2020. with the number of young people under 30 living at home increasing by approximately 550,000 in 2020.
  • Three groups of young people are increasingly marginalised in the UK housing system: young families, those on low incomes and those who are vulnerable due to their support needs. All of these groups will increasingly be living in the private rented sector.
  • A three-tier private rented sector will emerge in 2020. The bottom tier, made up of 400,000 young people under 30, will find it increasingly hard to compete for private rented tenancies.
  • The number of homeless young people under 25 will increase to 81,000 in 2020 from 75,000 in 2008.

Key solutions

  • As well as increasing housing supply a renewed focus on improving the supply, quality and stability of rented housing is needed in both the private and social rented sectors.
  • More stable private rented tenancies might be achieved through smarter incentives for landlords. International evidence suggests that these could include tax breaks in return for more stable, longer-term tenancies for vulnerable or lower-income tenants and/or other benefits such as lower rent levels.
  • Social landlords could help tackle the challenges facing young people by helping them to access private rented tenancies, and offering more shared tenancy options at local housing allowance rent levels as part of a varied housing offer.
  • Young people felt that more education on the housing system at school would help them to better understand the whole housing system and to make more informed housing choices.
  • Young people felt that flexible support was vital for those who had experienced homelessness, rather than the sometimes rigid approach to the level and length of support that services could offer young people.

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