YOUNG people’s dreams of owning their own home are being destroyed by an escalating housing crisis, the York-based Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns in a new report today.

The organisation says an estimated 3.7 million young people will be living with their parents by 2020 – the “boomerang generation” that returns home.

More than a million young people will be locked out of home ownership by 2020, with an extra 1.5 million 18 to 30-year-olds forced into private renting, the report from the social policy and research charity warns.

The number of home owners under 30 will almost halve to only 1.3 million by then, with a “three-tier” system developing in a race to find private rented sector accommodation: those at the top who can afford to pay, a “squeezed middle” group who might struggle to pay and a bottom rung of 400,000 who risk being excluded completely.

The authors say the long-term undersupply of housing must be addressed to improve affordability.

They say there should be an expansion of local letting agencies, who can find suitable private rented housing and protect vulnerable young people by acting as brokers between them and landlords.

They also want more stable private rented tenancies, with tax breaks for landlords who offer such options.

Kathleen Kelly, of the foundation, said the badly-functioning housing system would see those on the lowest incomes really struggling in the competitive rental market of 2020.

She said: “Renting is likely to be the only game in town and young people are facing fierce competition to secure a home in what is an already diminished supply of housing.

“With 400,000 vulnerable young people, including families, on the bottom rung of a three-tier private renting system we need to avoid turning a housing crisis into a homelessness disaster.”

David Clapham, lead author of the report, said: “There are simply not enough homes and those we do have cost too much to rent or buy.

“While more housing would help address this, it may not come quickly enough for young people forced into renting in eight years’ time.”

‘We have nowhere else to go and no idea what to do and the council isn’t helping us’

York Press: Natasha Wrigglesworth and her partner Chris Wilkinson with daughter Gracie, who have been forced to move into Natasha's parents’ home because of the shortage of suitable housing. Natasha Wrigglesworth and her partner Chris Wilkinson with daughter Gracie, who have been forced to move into Natasha's parents’ home because of the shortage of suitable housing.

YOUNG mothers say the shortage of suitable housing in York has left them unable to care adequately for their families, writes Ben McCluskey.

Natasha Wrigglesworth, 23, said she and her partner Chris Wilkiinson had been living at her parents’ home in Kingsway North, Clifton, since they had to give up their house in Selby when he was made redundant from his job as an engineer.

She said she shared a bedroom with Chris and their one-year-old daughter Gracie. “She is sleeping very badly in a travel cot,” she said. “We have nowhere else to go and have no idea what to do and the council aren’t helping us.”

Bekki Scrivener, 24, of Fishergate, said she had moved out of a private house into a private flat because, after bills and the rent, she had no money left over for anything else.

She said she had been disappointed with the lack of help she received when she went to the council to try to find better housing.

York Press: Comment

Scandal of our time

NATASHA Wrigglesworth tells an all too familiar story today. She, her partner and their one-year-old daughter have no choice but to live with Natasha’s parents because they can’t afford a place of their own.

Property prices may have fallen since the recession began, but the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns that a boomerang generation is emerging; one that keeps coming back home and by 2020 some 3.7 million young people will be living with their parents.

The Foundation says at the same time the number of home owners aged under 30 will halve to only 1.3 million, and that will lead to a race for private rented accommodation.

But in a city like York, even that isn’t always an option. Rental values in the city are high and for anyone on low income there is no alternative but to move back in with their parents.

One of the scandals of our time is young people being priced out of the housing market and while the recession shows no signs of abating, incentives should be introduced urgently to get builders building affordable homes again.

Deborah Peacock said she had been struggling to pay her rent since her partner died and she became seriously ill, leading her to cut back her hours at work.

She said she had been told by the council that she had a house and, if she gave it up, she would be making herself homeless and therefore would not be rehomed, even in a hostel.

She said she lived alone in a two-bedroom house, which she would gladly swap for a one-bedroom place almost anywhere in York. “But as I am not a council tenant, they will not even look at it.”

Graham Martin, of the York Welfare Campaign group, said future generations were being priced out of York.

“Many of the young people we’ve heard from are working low-paid entry-level jobs and have long-standing connections with the city. If a solution can’t be found, York will lose much of its home-grown talent.”

A City of York Council spokeswoman said over the past year it had seen an increase in the number of households seeking help and, through effective prevention work, had prevented 993 households from being homeless, an increase of 57 per cent on the previous year.

She said: “The council’s Housing Options team help prevent homelessness through early advice and support.

“The team offers access to a wide range of services that help people sustain their accommodation, such as debt advice, benefits advice, family mediation and landlord liaison.”

The Press revealed in April that York is one of the least affordable cities in the country to buy a home. A survey by the Lloyds TSB Affordable Cities Review found that the average property price in York is 5.95 times the area’s average annual earnings.