Over two-thirds of British people rent at some point

A survey conducted by Paragon Mortgages has revealed that 68% of the British population have rented at some point in their lives.

Rented homes are occupied for an average of 11.6 years.

The report provides a snapshot of how peoples choice of accommodation has changed over the years.

John Heron, managing director of Paragon Mortgages, says: This demonstrates that renting is not a minority practice but rather one that most people do at some point in their lives, and in many cases for long periods of time.

“Over a third of people have lived in rented accommodation for more than five years, and 21% for more than 10 years.

For older people, the average length of time spent in rented homes is, not surprisingly, longer.

The over-65 age bracket, for example, has lived in rented homes for an average of almost 23 years, and 41% of them have lived in such accommodation for over 10 years.

Even among the under-35s, the average time spent in rented accommodation is over four years, and 62% have lived in rented homes at some point.

The proportion of people who have never lived in rented accommodation is higher among younger age groups than older ones, but renting is common among all age groups.

The survey found that, despite the well-known difficulties encountered in getting onto the property ladder, the age at which people first move out of the family home has fallen slightly over the generations.

People over 65 left home at almost 22 years of age, but for the 25-34 year olds the average age of leaving home had drifted down to just over 20. The 18-24s are, of course, not representative as a large percentage is still at home.

Rented accommodation, both privately rented and social housing, has grown in popularity as peoples first choice on leaving the family home over the years.

For people now in the 65+ age bracket, 52% moved into rented accommodation on leaving home, a proportion that rose to 55% for the 35-44s and to a massive 74% for the 18-24s.

Heron adds: What is clear is that the desire of young people to escape the family home and establish themselves in independent households at an early age is getting stronger.

“People are leaving the family home at a younger age than they used to, and increasingly young people move into rented accommodation.

Among younger age groups, home ownership aspiration remains strong, with over 80% either already owning or wanting to own their own property.

“However, the proportion of them who actually buy by the age of 30 has declined to around 60%, from 68% for the 45-54 year olds, and this trend seems set to continue.

“This is partly driven by affordability issues but also, importantly, by lifestyle choices as people elect to rent homes while in their twenties, either on their own or as sharers.

“The vast majority of them rent privately, and the continued health of the private rented sector remains key to young peoples ability to fulfil their lifestyle ambitions.