Born to rent

Around half of all babies born in Britain – approximately 365,000 a year – are now born into rented accommodation, new analysis from Royal London has revealed, with more half of those – around 200,000 a year – born into insecure private rented accommodation. For the first time in living memory, a child is at least as likely to be born into a rented home as a home owned by its parents, up from around one in three babies in 2003/04.

The analysis, using data from the Family Resources Survey, suggests that parents are renting from private landlords for longer, with worrying financial, practical and emotional implications. There are now over 1.5 million families in England with dependent children living in private rented accommodation.

Across the United Kingdom as a whole, the number of families with dependent children living in private rented accommodation has risen by 94 per cent in the last decade, from 940,000 in 2006/07 to 1.8 million in 2016/17. The analysis, published as part of Royal London’s latest policy paper: “The Parent Rent Trap”, also highlighted the 20 per cent premium paid by private renters, compared with those repaying a mortgage (a mean of £844 a month compared with £678 a month in average mortgage repayments) and the impact of this on their ability to save up for a deposit. The report has suggested that renting itself is becoming unaffordable, leaving renting families at particular risk of financial difficulty and even less able to save up a deposit.

According to Royal London, the growth of the private rented sector, coupled with the rising cost of renting, has put home ownership further out of reach of people aged 25 to 34. The age at which most couples have their first child is 29 (mother) and 33 (father). The average age of a first-time buyer is 34, up from 26 in 1997, according to the English Housing Survey.