Are you a Grend?

Ok, it sounds like an insult, but this was the question asked today in the Times (£). It stands for ‘Graduates Renting, Employed, No Deposit’ – an increasing group of young-ish people priced out of owning a home.

Here at Shelter, we hear from ‘Grends’ all the time – debating with us and one another on Twitter and Facebook, and, more surprisingly, through our helpline and web services. Shelter helps anyone who needs us, and increasingly, many middle-income working young people need housing advice – particularly for problems with private renting.

And these so-called ‘Grends’ are an increasingly frustrated group – understandable when the average deposit for a first-time buyer is now over £25,000, and closer to £65,000 in London. Even if you earn a decent graduate salary, putting aside enough money for a deposit of that size seems unattainable – and unfair, as a hurdle much higher than first-time buyers in the past had to jump.

And in a double whammy as rents and living costs increase, so does the squeeze on incomes, making saving ever more difficult. It’s hardly surprising then to see that only 14% of Grends are saving for a deposit.

So if you are not a beneficiary of ‘the Bank of Mum and Dad’, and haven’t been one of the lucky 0.6% to receive help from a Government scheme to help first-time buyers, it looks likely that you’re set to rent for years to come – with all the disadvantages that entails – unpredictable rent rises; hidden charges from letting agents; repairs not being done on time or at all.

And even if they’re happy in their rented home, many Grends tell us how angry they are about what they see as ‘dead money’ – paying their rent to pay their landlord’s mortgage – when they could pay less on a mortgage of their own.

There are Grends who will reconcile themselves to a lifetime of renting, of course, but increasingly Grends are looking to the future with concern. These are the graduates who have secured jobs; they are fortunate, hard-working and ambitious. These young people are already making their mark on the world, as they rise in their chosen careers. Soon they’ll be ready to settle down and have a family – and if they aren’t able to buy a home of their own, the rest of us are going to start hearing about it.

And of course, where does that leave the non-Grends? People without the advantages of a secure income or a degree? Here at Shelter, we want everyone to have a home – and we won’t stop until they do.

Are you a Grend? Tell us about your experiences here.