According to a report by the think tank the ‘Intergenerational Foundation’ this is potentially becoming the case. In their report that covers suburbs in England and Wales it uncovered that whilst young people are increasingly moving into city centres to live, the surrounding suburbs are being dominated by over-50s. In fact, since 1991 the number of areas dominated by older people has risen seven fold as young people, unable to get on to the property, choose to rent in the city closer to where they work.
This ultimately means that the current supply and demand issue in the housing market is causing different generations to live separately from one another.
In conducting their research, the Intergenerational Foundation examined Census data from the last three Census years – 1991, 2001 and 2011 as well as housing data from 2014 to identify how age segregation has evolved over the years. As a result of their findings, the Foundation has called for:
– More rental homes to be built
– Building on environmentally poor areas of the green built
– More affordable homes both for young people and those who want to downsize
– Building upwards and creating more shared outside spaces
– Sub-division of homes by older property owners
The longer the housing crisis goes on, the greater the chance that age segregation will continue. This could potentially lead to social issues such as young people being stuck in a rental black hole with no way of getting out of it and suburbs/rural communities diminishing because there are no new young families moving into them to keep the areas flourishing. There is also the fear of greater division between the generations which has already been highlighted as part of the Brexit fallout.
Clearly a concerted effort on new affordable housing is needed and it will be interesting to see how Britain’s housing landscape evolves to deal with this problem.