Children given 'golden goodbyes' to leave home

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Parents are bribing their twenty-something children with £5,000 "golden goodbyes" in an attempt to make them leave home, new research suggests.

Young graduates are becoming increasingly unwilling to forgo the creature comforts of the family home for "real" life and a mortgage, it seems. Now parents are becoming so desperate to reclaim their homes that they are sacrificing holidays and missing loan repayments in an effort to put their children on the property ladder.

The research, for the Skipton Building Society, was based on interviews with 1,000 parents of twenty-somethings who were still living at home. It found that parents were subsidising their children to the tune of £3,000 a year, by providing food, paying bills and letting them off rent.

On top of that, they were giving their offspring an average of £5,000 for a deposit on their own house. And in the meantime, more than 80 per cent of mothers admitted to doing their adult children's washing and cooking.

Social commentators say rising property prices and student debts, along with twenty-something angst, are keeping a generation of graduates at the family home.

The proportion of mortgage sales to first-time buyers has slumped in the past few years, and they now account for just 30 per cent of loans. Most house loans now go to people remortgaging a home - and many of these applications are from parents trying to raise cash for their offspring.

David Cutter, operations director at the Skipton Building Society, said they now held "parents evenings" to advise them on how to help their children on to the property ladder.

"House prices are still rising and many twenty-something people simply cannot afford them," he said. "But anecdotally, there is also definitely a problem with young people wanting their creature comforts. They aren't prepared to slum it in a tiny flat, perhaps as their parents were; they want somewhere equally luxurious."

Terri Apter, a researcher at Newnham College, Cambridge, coined the phrase "thresholders" for twenty-something graduates reluctant to fly the nest and instead remain dependent on parents. The classic thresholder may have been a high achiever at school, but has become directionless after university.

Dr Apter said: "Many of them feel overwhelmed by how many decisions there are. Many post-university people experience a decision-paralysis.

"It is surprising that young people who have been so determined suddenly seem so paralysed.

"Educators and parents are often irritated by a once forward-thinking and forward-looking teenager who becomes a dizzy thresholder."