More middle-aged people are now renting their homes

The number of middle-aged households privately renting has nearly doubled in the space of a decade, with many set to remain in rented homes for the long-term.

Paragon Bank’s analysis of government data shows the number of households in England where the lead reference person is aged between 45 and 64 has increased from 691,000 in 2011 to 1.18 million in 2021 – a 70 per cent increase.

This age group experienced the greatest growth in the number of households in the private rented sector (PRS) over the period.

The number of households aged 65 plus privately renting increased by 38 per cent, with those aged between 34 and 44 increasing by 21 per cent.

The 16 to 34 year-old group increased by just three per cent.

The Paragon survey of over 2,000 tenants showed that while the desire to own a home is high among the 45 to 64 age group, the ability to buy is inhibited.

Nearly half of this age group (47 per cent) has a desire to buy their own home, yet only 19 per cent are actively saving towards buying a property.

Of the 19 per cent actively saving to purchase a home, 25 per cent have their finances in place and are searching, with four per cent in the process of purchasing.

The remaining 71 per cent are in the savings phase.

Another issue facing this group is income: just 14 per cent of those in the 45 to 64 age bracket have an annual income in excess of £50,000, with a quarter earning less than £10,000 per year.

A similar proportion earn between £30,000 and £50,000, inhibiting the ability of tenants in this bracket to save for a deposit and limiting their ability to obtain and service a mortgage.

Richard Rowntree, Paragon Bank’s managing director of mortgages, says: “There is a perception that the PRS is home to the young when, in fact, over half of tenants are aged over 35 and the greatest increase in the number of households is in the middle-aged 45 to 64 age bracket.

“Too much policy focus is on getting younger tenants on the housing ladder. While this is important, the government should also consider the need to provide a home to older tenants who live in the PRS for the long-term.”

He adds: “Just a fifth of 45 to 64-year-olds are actively saving towards buying a house, which suggests that they will remain in rented accommodation for the long-term.

“This has implications for the types of property that this group will live in as they age.

“For example, there may need to be an increase in one or two-bedroom properties and landlords will need to be open to property adaptions.

“Ensuring there is a supply of property in the PRS to cater for their needs is vital.”