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High unemployment rates and the rising cost of living are affecting many people throughout the country but for some people these factors are forcing them to put their lives on hold.
The ‘Boomerang Generation’ refers to adults who have left their parents’ home, for university or any other reason, and had to return due to not being able to afford the costs involved. Even though 72% of this group work they are unable to pay for a mortgage and bills on their wage and are therefore unable to pay for an independent lifestyle. There are 3.3 million adults in the UK aged 20-34 years old in this situation which is 26% of the total UK population of this age group. This number has increased by 25% since 1996 although the UK population of 20-34 year olds remains the same.
In 1996 first time buyers were facing houses priced 2.7 times higher than their annual income; in 2013 this became prices 4.5 times the annual income of first time buyers. Looking at this statistic it is not surprising that close to half of parents do not believe that their children will ever be able to afford a stable home.
It has been found that males are more likely to ‘boomerang’ than females and there are a few suggestions for why this might be. Firstly, many females form relationships with older men so are more likely to cohabit at an earlier age than men. Secondly, if relationships end it is often the female who will keep the home, over the male, if there are children involved. A third reason is that more females attend higher education than males and will often leave home for good due to this.
This ‘boomerang’ behaviour is more common in other parts of Europe so these statistics bring the UK more into line with them. For example, in Spain 55% of 25-29 year olds still live with their parents and in Italy 60% of 18-34 year olds are living with their parents.
A lot of parents are happy to have their family together at home but a factor which can cause stress and problems is how to fund this. It is important that if children return to live at home the whole family discusses incomings and outgoings and ensures that all members are claiming any benefits that they are entitled to. A well thought out budget is also important to make sure that extra money spent on food and energy is available.
Living in the family home can be a great way to save up money for a deposit and, eventually, earn enough to get a foot onto the property ladder. It is just a shame that so many people are finding this to be the only way to afford their own place. Only time will tell if these statistics will improve but until then being a ‘boomerang’ seems to be a good option.
By Sasha Davison
31st January 2014
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