Over-50s Turn to House-Shares to Beat Rising Rents

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Over-50s Turn to House-Shares to Beat Rising Rents

In the ever-evolving landscape of housing affordability, a surprising trend has emerged: over-50s are increasingly turning to house-shares as a solution to combat rising rents. Traditionally associated with younger demographics, house-sharing is now becoming a viable option for those in their golden years.

The Rising Cost of Renting and Buying

The escalating costs of both renting and buying homes have left many older individuals seeking alternative housing arrangements. Property-sharing websites have witnessed a surge in interest from the over-50 age group, as they explore the benefits of communal living.

Over-50s Turn to House-Shares to Beat Rising Rents

 

Karen’s Story: A 66-Year-Old House-Sharer

Karen Miles, a 66-year-old resident, exemplifies this growing trend. Five years ago, she made the decision to move into a 13-person house in Eastbourne, motivated by the need to save money. Previously residing in a one-bedroom flat, Karen struggled to cover her bills alongside the hefty rent of approximately £560 per month.

Now, Karen pays a more manageable £500 per month for her room in the shared house. Her housemates span a wide age range, from early-20s to early-50s. While Karen appreciates the cost savings, she acknowledges that sharing with younger individuals can present challenges. Noise levels, cleanliness, and differing lifestyles occasionally create friction. Yet, the companionship and social interaction compensate for these drawbacks.

The Affordability Factor

Leading flat-sharing site SpareRoom reports a significant increase in over-50s seeking house-shares. Since 2011, there has been a 239% rise in 55 to 64-year-olds exploring this housing option, along with a 114% increase in the 45-to-54 age group. While the majority of sharers still fall within the 25 to 34 age bracket, the trend among older individuals is unmistakable.

Matt Hutchinson, Communications Director at SpareRoom, attributes this shift to affordability. As housing costs continue to soar, more people are opting for long-term house-sharing arrangements. The dream of owning a home has become elusive for many, leading to a generation of “lifetime renters.” Additionally, individuals who once considered buying or renting a one-bedroom flat find themselves priced out of the market.

The Broader Context

Official figures support the notion that renters are getting older. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that the cost of living crisis disproportionately affects renters, who allocate a larger portion of their income to housing. Unlike homeowners with fixed-rate mortgages, renters face the brunt of rent increases.

As the UK grapples with a housing affordability crisis, house-sharing emerges as a pragmatic solution for the over-50s. While challenges exist, the benefits of companionship, cost-sharing, and social interaction make it an attractive choice for those seeking stability in an uncertain housing market.

In conclusion, the over-50s are rewriting the rules of housing, proving that age is no barrier to finding creative solutions in an ever-changing landscape.

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