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Surge in ‘boomerang kids’ in London as more young adults unable to afford own home


Surge in ‘boomerang kids’ in London as more young adults unable to afford own home


ondon is seeing a surge in “boomerang kids” as a growing number of young adults are unable to afford their own home, official figures revealed on Wednesday.

More than one in four (26.8 per cent) London families had at least one adult child in the home, the largest proportion of any English region, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The capital saw the fastest rate of increase in families with adult children in England and Wales between 2011 and 2021, with a jump of 24.5 per cent, twice the 12.2 per cent increase seen across all other regions.

The trend is expected to have continued during the cost-of-living crisis, with rents and mortgage bills soaring for millions of people, particularly in the capital.

Nick Bowes, chief executive of the Centre for London, said: “These deeply worrying statistics indicate that London’s future as a liveable city is at stake.

“Younger adults risk being permanently priced out of affording life in the capital without intervention.

“Only a massive expansion in the amount of affordable, private and social housing in London can reverse this trend and properly address London’s housing crisis.”

Even though the average house price in London has dipped recently, it still stands at more than £530,000, according to the Land Registry, far out of the reach of many young adults.

The average rent in the capital has also spiralled to £2,500-a-month, according to the property website Rightmove, with many young adults now spending more than £1,000-a-month for a room in a shared house.

Among all local authorities, Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham and Newham saw the highest growth rates of families with adult children over the decade to 2021 at 46.1 per cent, 38.5 per cent and 38.1 per cent, respectively.

Six of the ten areas in the country with the highest proportion of families with adult children were in London.

The highest rate was in Brent, where almost one in three (32.4 per cent) families had adult children living with them, followed by Enfield 31.9 per cent, Newham 31.4 per cent, Redbridge 30.6 per cent, and Barking and Dagenham 30.3 per cent.

The next five in London were Harrow at 29.9 per cent, Ealing 29.1 per cent, Hillingdon 28.5 per cent, Croydon 28.4 per cent and Havering 28.3 per cent.

Overcrowding among families with adult children was most prevalent in London (23.2 per cent), while the North East had the lowest rate at 6.7 per cent.

Adult children living with their parents were oldest in London, where the average age was 25 years. The median age in every other English region was 24 years.

In five London boroughs adult children’s average age had risen to 26 years over the decade.

These include the neighbouring boroughs of Harrow (up from 24 years), Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Brent (all up from 25 years).

Haringey also saw the average age of adult children rise to 26 years from 24 years.

London was the least affordable region for buying a home in 2022, with an average worker spending 12.5 times their annual earnings to buy a home where they work, according to the ONS.

This compared to the North East as the most affordable area, with the average home costing 4.9 times average earnings.

London was also the least affordable region for private rental housing in 2021, with the average rent equivalent to 39.8 per cent of average household incomes.

The capital was also the only region where more than half of lone-parent families had adult children (50.6 per cent) in 2021. This was a 31.1 per cent increase from 2011, the highest of any region.

London also saw faster growth (17.2 per cent) in the number of couples who were married or in civil partnerships with adult children at home compared with other regions.

The city also had the highest share of unemployed adult children aged 22 to 64 years (10.4 per cent) among the English regions.

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