Banking on Mum and Dad?

The housing shortage is a thing that leaves no-one untouched. It impacts on us all, often in very different ways.

For a family renting the crisis is lived out through expensive housing costs. It is the pervading worry you could be evicted from your home, forcing you to uproot your lives and children.

For many of us it can be even more precarious. An unexpected job loss, or a serious illness could be the thing that tips one of us into a negative spiral that ends with losing our home – and everything we know.

When it comes to many parents though, the housing shortage is lived out through their children. They see the burdens the next generation have to deal with: the high rents, the frustrations that brings. And for some, they face a decade of their twenty something kid, now an adult, living at home again.

For these families, if they are just about managing themselves, the housing shortage for them breeds guilt and frustration. Guilt that they can’t help their child secure a home of their own, through providing them with enough financial support for a deposit.

The bank of mum and dad is helping in any way it can. We know that 40% of parents have helped out their kids with their housing costs. And that those helping their children onto the property ladder are handing over £23,000 on average.

Yet many are doing so with huge personal costs for themselves. In a sign of the increasing strain being placed on the Bank of Mum and Dad, new research by Shelter shows 1 in 4 parents had to cut back on their own spending to help their kids; and 64% raided their own savings to help with their children’s housing costs.

And with times tough, and high house prices meaning huge deposits, many parents can’t help at all. Over half of parents we surveyed said they were unable to save any money for their children’s future.

The problem isn’t improved through making the required first time deposits smaller either. Just reducing the deposit needed on a high house price means the buyer needs to pay a bigger mortgage. If those parents who are acting as the Bank of Mum and Dad already find it hard to raise the money to help with their child’s deposit, I’m not sure it will be any easier to help them pay more expensive and ongoing mortgage costs.

And previous Shelter research proves this. 88% of homes for sale in England are unaffordable for families with a 95% loan, as higher monthly mortgage costs push even more properties out of reach.

This concern is now front and centre for parents across the country. And it is playing out in their voting intentions. Housing has consistently ranked as a top 5 voter issue for months now. Increasingly voters want to know which party will be the one to tackle the housing shortage.

And there’s plenty of space for any party to seize this ground. 1 in 4 voters don’t know which party is strongest on housing – suggesting huge opportunities for whichever party makes a big pitch for this area.

The housing shortage is our national crisis, fuelled by decade after decade of politicians failing to build the homes we need. It’s put the Bank of Mum and Dad in crisis. And it’s left parents crying out for action. The only solution now is to build more affordable homes.

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