Why leaving home, buying a house and raising a family are now harder to achieve

Being young is never easy. But today's youngsters appear to have it tougher than ever.

House for sale.
House for sale.

The traditional goals of leaving home, buying a property and raising a family are harder to achieve than ever for today’s young people, as property prices soar and good jobs are hard to come by.

New figures show home ownership is at its lowest levels for more than 30 years and the average cost of living now outstrips wages for most 20-somethings.

But today, we speak to a host of young people about to make their way in the world, who tell us that despite some depressing figures, their future isn’t all doom and gloom.

Sue Taylor

People like 19-year-old science student Lasma Dudina are forging a new way through life as the traditional goals of home ownership and starting a family are cut off to them until much later in life.

“I would like to travel and as long as I have enough to do that and look after myself then that’s enough money,” she said. “I don’t want to be my parents. Not because of anything bad, I just think we’re different in the things we wanted at my age.”

And Sue Taylor, senior careers adviser at Edge Hill University, says it is a common trend with more and more young people reassessing their goals as the world around them changes.

She said: “I’ve been doing this job for around 14 years now and more and more graduates just don’t want to go straight into work after they finish education.

Sue Taylor

“A lot feel like they want some breathing space and choose to go on holiday or travelling so they can relax.

“For lots of young people, going into a long-term career just isn’t on the radar for a few years.

“We’re seeing people stay at home much longer now. After building up huge debts at university, they often see buying a house as just adding to the debt they already have.”

One of the big driving forces in this changing situation is the rising price of properties forcing young people to live at home longer.

Today, prospective home owners need to raise around £30,000 for a deposit on their first house in Preston - more than the total cost many of their parents paid for their first homes.

Average property prices have soared from £22,000 in 1980 to around £200,000 today.

The world today is totally different to the one Veronica Barber, 78, was confronted with when she bought her first home aged 22.

The pensioner bought her first home in St Chad’s Road, Preston for £1,400 in 1960 and says it was a much easier time to get your own home than it is now.

“It’s a change in young people’s priorities that’s seeing fewer young home owners,” said Sue. “We’re seeing more gap years to travel the world rather than worrying about saving up for their first home.

“They’re happy to stay at home and work full-time and use their money for other things before thinking about houses and families in their late 20s or even 30s.”

Average wage by age group (Office for National Statistics)

18-21: £9,408

22-29: £19,216

30-39: £25,142

40-49: £25,784

PRESTON AVERAGE WAGE (Office for National Statistics)


PRESTON AVERAGE house price (Rightmove)


Income needed to get an 80 per cent mortgage