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Young Families Being ‘Ghettoised’ by Housing Crisis

A popular think tank has concluded that the housing crisis is effectively ‘ghettoising’ younger people and families while isolating older homeowners in the suburbs of England and Wales.

According to the Intergenerational Foundation, whose mandate is to preserve the rights of younger people in policy-making, the number of locales with an average over-50 population has gone up sevenfold since 1991. The spike is being attributed to the number of young people moving into the cities.

It added that this trend has resulted in different generations leading separate lives.

The foundation analysed age-related segregation in local areas throughout England and Wales. It accessed population estimates from the last three census periods (1991, 2001 and 2011) along with data from 2014, to review how age-related segregation has changed over the years.

The think tank said that segregation usually resulted from housing-related problems and called for the following:

  • More affordable homes for young people or those who want to downsize
  • More rental homes to support larger-scale professional landlords
  • Older homeowners to be given incentives to subdivide their properties
  • Building on environmentally-deficit areas of the green belt
  • Build upwards and create more shared spaces outside

Specialists in Construction Insurance

Panel representatives said that age segregation increased the most among younger adults at a time when they were more inclined to rent their homes instead of buy. This appeared to be the result of problems in the UK housing market.

The report, which was developed with the finance company Legal and General, warns that these trends could have negative economic consequences, such as higher rates of unemployment and families struggling to support one another.

It held up examples in Brighton and Cardiff, where young people are concentrated in city centres and more likely to rent than buy. Suburbs and outlying communities are ageing, it said, because young adults can no longer afford to move to them. The flow of younger citizens continues in the direction of the larger cities, which threatens the future of rural communities.

Other age-segregation sites are Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton, where over 30% of younger adults and one-quarter of retired people would be needed to rectify the generational imbalances.

Angus Hanton, the Intergenerational Foundation co-founder, said that at present, only 5% of people living in close proximity to a young adult over 18 are over 65. This is a decrease from the 15% logged in 1991. He warned that this disparity was weakening the connection between the generations.

Legal and General chief executive Nigel Wilson said that an intergenerationally unfair society has been created as a result, and bold steps are necessary to reverse the negative impact of the last three decades.

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the government needs to make it a priority to build the homes that communities need. Nearly 900,000 have been delivered since the end of 2009. The department has also doubled the housing budget so that a million extra homes could be built, making it the biggest housebuilding programme since the 1970s.

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