What to do when the empty nest is full once more

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

con­tin­ues, an­other 500,000 will have to move back in with their par­ents in the next decade.

Young peo­ple are trapped in this hous­ing mar­ket, un­able to scrape to­gether the ever-grow­ing amount needed for a de­posit. The av­er­age ask­ing price is £307,245, ac­cord­ing to Right­move, well above many first-time buy­ers’ price ranges, es­pe­cially in Lon­don, where homes are on av­er­age 13 times the me­dian salary.

“The prob­lem of adult chil­dren re­turn­ing to the fold is one of the tricky im­pacts of the lack of hous­ing pro­vi­sion in this coun­try,” says Ed Burgess, of Burgess Ar­chi­tects. “I’ve seen it hap­pen among peo­ple I know and the quite dra­matic ef­fect it can have on re­la­tion­ships. Both the chil­dren who have been away at univer­sity and their par­ents get used to a new level of in­de­pen­dence, and it can be hard for both when they live to­gether again.”

While mov­ing back home saves young peo­ple an av­er­age of £8,000 per year, it is prov­ing costly for their par­ents, ac­cord­ing to the price com­par­i­son site MoneySu­perMar­ket. It es­ti­mates that the av­er­age cost of hav­ing an adult child live at home is £1,042 per year, with a fur­ther £1,742 needed to be spent on home up­grades, ren­o­va­tions and fur­nish­ings be­fore they move back. “Par­ents prob­a­bly feel an obli­ga­tion to ac­cept their child home to give them this leg up, but for them it is a real com­pro­mise,” adds Burgess.

“It used to be that a school qual­i­fi­ca­tion was enough to make a good liv­ing. Then it took a univer­sity de­gree or a short ap­pren­tice­ship,” says Dr Michael Muthukr­ishna, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of eco­nomic psy­chol­ogy at the Lon­don School of Eco­nomics. “Now it re­quires post­grad­u­ate de­grees, in­tern­ships and vol­un­teer work – which can be un­paid – as well as on-the-job train­ing. This has meant that the age of peo­ple hav­ing their first child, own­ing a home and be­com­ing fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent has been steadily ris­ing.”

Laura Jack­son, 30, is one of those young peo­ple who has moved back into the house she grew up in. Af­ter Alevels she worked in var­i­ous ad­min jobs, be­fore de­cid­ing to go to univer­sity part-time to study psy­chol­ogy, while work­ing as an as­sis­tant earn­ing £12,000 a year. “Even when I was work­ing full-time, the wage I was on meant that my boyfriend and I could only af­ford a house where we were shar­ing with six or seven other peo­ple.

“We did move into a one-bed­room prop­erty for a while, but it didn’t feel a very safe area. Then when I be­came a stu­dent again, even though I was work­ing to sup­port my­self through it, my par­ents and I de­cided that it would be bet­ter if I moved home for a bit.”

They dis­cussed a nom­i­nal rent to live in her fam­ily home in Cam­den, north Lon­don – “£100 a month, just a to­ken of my ap­pre­ci­a­tion re­ally” – and Laura and her boyfriend Nathan now live in her old bed­room. She hopes to move out in a year’s time af­ter she has fin­ished her teacher train­ing. “We’re a very close and hon­est fam­ily, but it has still been hard,” adds Laura. “The main

Tre­bur­vaugh House in Powys has an an­nexe for boomerang kids, left, £685,000 with Strutt & Parker; Laura Jack­son, who has moved back in with her mother Deb­bie, main

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