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Housing costs 'delaying young people from reaching key life milestones'

Campagining housing charity Shelter claims that an estimated 13 million people aged between 18 and 44 feel the high costs of buying and renting housing and related problems are delaying them from reaching key milestones in their lives. 

A survey conducted for the charity by polling company YouGov, quoted by Shelter in The Stylist magazine, suggests that a fifth of those questioned believe their career plans are stuck because of housing.

The author of the piece - Catherine Grey, who describes herself as a flat-sharing renter at the age of 36 - says that while “megabucks rents and property prices are not news” the phenomena of high housing costs and scarcity effectively stalling people's’ lives is news. 

“Prohibitive living costs mean we cannot afford to take a pay-cut to re-train, go freelance or set up our own businesses – with eye-watering rental payments and mortgages limiting our options and stifling our dreams. Literally bricking and boxing us into jobs we don’t love and relationships we’re not happy in – just to keep a roof over our head” she claims.

“As my better-paid or parent-funded friends buy, I feel distinctly stuck – unable to live the fully independent life that I crave” she says.

Grey also cites Dr Paul McLaren, a consultant psychiatrist at the Priory’s Wellbeing Centre, who says there has been a rise in people aged 20-40 coming to see him with addictions or stress because of what the article calls a ‘brick ceiling’. 

“Feeling trapped causes psychological problems. This is particularly toxic if you feel that at home and at work. Balancing job satisfaction and income is nothing new, but choices are starker than ever these days,” he says. 

The article also quotes Shelter research figures claiming private tenants spend 43 per cent of their income on rent, while home owners only pay 19 per cent. It also says the average tenant in Britain will have spent £40,000 on rent in the past five years, with typical monthly rents now costing £744 per cent - a contrast with the rest of Europe, the charity says, where the average rent is claimed to be £400. 

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