Parents feel the strain as grown-up kids remain living at home

Across the East, first-time buyer house prices are set to increase by 46% by 2020.
Across the East, first-time buyer house prices are set to increase by 46% by 2020. Photo: PA Images

The lack of affordable housing in the East of England is increasing the financial and emotional burden on parents as their grown-up children can no longer afford to move out, new research has revealed.

A ComRes poll1 of parents with adult children aged 21 to 40, conducted on behalf of the National Housing Federation, found that across the East:

  • Nine out of ten (90%) parents with grown-up children believe there is not enough housing in Britain that people can afford.
  • Almost a third of parents of adult children (29%) have at least one adult child living at home.
  • Eight out of ten (80%) with at least one adult child living at home say that they are doing so because they simply can not afford to move out.

Unless more homes are built, the situation soon could become even bleaker for parents with children in their twenties and thirties. Across the East, first-time buyer house prices are set to increase by 46% by 2020, while rents in 2020 will be 54% higher that they are today.

That means parents could be forced to provide a home for their grown-up children for even longer as they struggle to save up enough money to get a place of their own.

This is increasing pressure on family life. While many East of England parents say having an adult child at home has brought them closer together or brought them a lot of happiness, others were not so positive. Several respondents say having a grown-up child at home has caused them stress or caused family arguments. Worryingly, some say it has caused them to fall into debt.

Nationally, parents in higher income brackets are more likely to have at least one grown-up child living at home. More than a third (36%) of parents with grown-up children with a household income of more than £30,000 have at least one of their adult children living at home, compared to a fifth (21%) of parents with adult children with a total household income of £30,000 or less.

"Empty nest syndrome is becoming a thing of the past. Rather than waving their children off as they grow up and move out, parents are putting a roof over their children's heads well into their thirties.

"Moving out and setting up a family home of your own is a rite of passage that is no longer an option for many. We're delaying adulthood for grown-ups who are left stuck in their childhood bedrooms. As a result parents may also feel trapped, unable to move on with their lives and benefit from the freedom which comes when their sons and daughters move out.

"As a country we need to build more homes at the right prices in the right areas now to ensure there is another option. The decisions about where more homes are built are being made locally, by local councillors. They will act if local people say they want more homes in their local communities. Unless local communities speak out in favour of more housing, mums and dads across the country will be stuck providing homes for their adult children."

– Claire Astbury, East of England lead manager for the National Housing Federation

The National Housing Federation's Yes to Homes campaign is calling on local people that want more affordable homes in their communities to contact their local councillors and support more housing.