Potential FTBs turn to booze

A psychologist is claiming crippling property prices are to blame for the rising tide of binge drinking among 20 to 35 year olds.

Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Management School, spent an evening talking to drinkers on the streets of Manchester as part of a BBC documentary. He discovered many of them lived in rented accommodation or with their parents.

He says: “The reasons for binge drinking vary for different age groups, but one difficulty for 25 to 35 year olds is that they can’t afford to get on the property ladder.

“Whereas a decade ago this age group would probably have already bought a home, now university debts and astronomical housing prices mean they either can’t afford to or are reluctant to get into more debt. And because they don’t have furniture to buy or mortgages to pay back, they’ve got more disposable income to indulge in binge drinking.”

He adds: “Many are also remaining in their parental homes for longer, which means they tend to socialise with their peers outside the home and spend their wages on alcohol rather than mortgage repayments.”

A survey from the Investment Management Association last week revealed 18 to 29 year olds spend 57 per month on alcohol (about 23 pints of lager) despite 87% saying they can’t afford to put money aside for savings.

The link between binge drinking and house prices doesn’t surprise many in the mortgage industry.

James Taylor, mortgage product manager at West Bromwich, says: “Affordability is a big factor but changes in lifestyle have also made a difference. There is less of a savings culture now, so people can afford a fashionable lifestyle.”