Renters spend 40 per cent of their income on housing costs

Shortage of affordable homes is leaving many younger homehunters in a 'rent trap'

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The Independent Online

Campaigners are calling for Government action following figures showing 'sky high' rents are trapping an entire generation.

The latest English Housing Survey - which covers 2012-13 - shows that on average private renters spent 40 per cent of their income on rent, around twice as much of their income compared to the average homeowner with a mortgage.

Nearly two thirds of private renters said that they hoped to own their own property in the long-term, although around a quarter said that they expected to still be renting from a private landlord in the foreseeable future.

"It used to be the norm for people in their early thirties to set up a home of their own," said David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, "but sadly being 'priced out' is rapidly becoming the new the norm.

"With more young people stuck renting privately, they find themselves having to pay rising rents for short-term lets, that offer them no stability or the chance to put down roots for their future. The government must build more of the right homes at the right prices in the right areas, so that we can end this housing crisis in a generation."

The report, which comes from the Department for Communities and Local Government, also showed that the number of people with a mortgage aged under 35 has fallen from 21 per cent to 18 per cent, while the number of 25-34 year olds privately renting has jumped from 31 per cent to 45 per cent.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive said: "Having a place to call their own is becoming a distant dream for people finding themselves caught in the 'rent trap'.

"With homeownership now at its lowest level since the 1980s, our shortage of affordable homes is leaving more and more families with no choice by to bring up children in unstable and expensive privately rented homes. The government needs to give generation rent the chance of a stable home by building the affordable homes we desperately need."

Alex Hilton, director of Generation Rent, added: "Renters spend two days every week working to pay off their landlord’s mortgage. This is a financial thumbscrew applied to people who simply have no other choice of tenure and it’s hard to see how this can be characterised as anything other than exploitation. This underlines the urgency of the need for affordable housebuilding and tenancy law reform."

The report also showed that just over 80 per cent of private renters who had moved in the last three years said their tenancy had ended because they had wanted to move. Only seven per cent (179,000 households) said it was because they had been asked to leave by their landlord or agent.

Latest figures from the British Bankers’ Association out earlier today indicated rising mortgage approvals in June following four successive months of decline. Approvals for house purchase rose three per cent to 43,265.

"Today’s BBA figures show that borrowers are successfully negotiating the hurdle of affordability checks, with approvals rising for the first time since the Mortgage Market Review switchover," said Brian Murphy, Head of Lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau. "Even so, the Bank of England's calls for caution on new mortgages are clearly ringing in lenders' ears and prompting them to take matters into their hands by reviewing and tightening their criteria."