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Fly the nest? If only we could afford to

Many of my peers stayed at home into their late 20s and 30s

You’re on a date with someone you find most attractive. The chemistry  is tingling, the lights  are dimmed low, and you ask your date how old they are and where they live. “I’m 34, and I live at home with my parents.” Loser alert! Cue the sound of a romantic song being stopped suddenly as the lights come up and you make a dash for  it, running away at a pace to rival  Mo Farah’s.

Except – living with one’s parents well into adulthood is becoming the norm. Increasingly, those of us lucky enough to be settled in our own homes are the anomaly. The latest report into the housing shortage by the charity Shelter and KPMG warns that, with property prices set to double in the UK over the next decade, more than half of all 20- to 34-year-olds will still be living at home – unless our leaders take radical action.

The report cites both private renting and buying as soon-to-be unaffordable options.

Actually, the crisis has already set in. Many of my peers stayed at home into their late 20s and 30s to gather a deposit for their first flat – because today’s inflated rents suck up too much money for saving. They hated it. We weren’t designed to live in a state of arrested development. How can you progress your life if you’re stuck in your childhood bedroom?

Friends who do rent sigh that they will never be able to buy their own place. Many of those who can afford to buy are doing so not just because they were able to save but also because their parents helped them with the deposit. But many parents don’t have that cash to give, so their kids stay stuck.

Our housing laws are a joke (not you, Scotland – well done) and consequently competition for houses is now off the scale. Securing somewhere to rent or buy, even if you do have the money, is unbearably difficult. What a dispiriting, unfair mess.

Radical action is long overdue. Do we really want a depressed nation of young professionals stuck at home with no space of their own? I love my parents with all my heart, but should I be living with them in my thirties? Should anyone? The answer is a resounding, nest-fleeing no. Not just for the sake of our mental health but also for that of our parents.

Leaders, from the comfort of your own homes, sort it out – and ban gazumping while you’re at it.