How are millennials meeting the challenges of the housing crisis?

How are millennials meeting the challenges of the housing crisis?

The challenges facing millennials are well documented: large debts, fewer job prospects and less secure employment arrangements, and a growing inter-generational wealth gap.

Perhaps the most notable issue facing millennials, however, is the housing crisis. It’s estimated that millennials have paid £44,000 more rent than baby boomers by the time they hit 30. But, it’s not only a matter of costs. The quality of housing is an equally pressing concern. With a Tory majority parliament voting down an amendment to a Housing bill to ensure private landlords make their homes “fit for human habitation”, the conditions in which young people live today are not exactly luxurious.

So, what options do millennials have in the current economic and political climate? How are they coming to meet the challenges imposed by a lack of affordable homes? Here are some solutions:

  1. Property Guardians

With an estimated 600,000 empty properties across the UK, ‘property guardians’ have emerged as a solution to make use of these disused spaces. Keyworkers, young professionals and creatives can make use of disused warehouses or old commercial and residential properties in order to secure reduced rent for themselves and to keep out squatters for property owners.

While the temporary nature of these living arrangements doesn’t give them a sense of security, guardians schemes are both suited to the flexible lifestyles of young people and allow them to save money.

  1. ‘Naked’ homes

Sadiq Khan has recently announced his support for so-called ‘naked’ homes. These properties can sell for up to 40% less than usual new-builds because of their lack of internal fittings, walls or finishes. Expected to be about 15% cheaper to build than standard new homes, this new model of property development is designed to help ‘generation rent’ get on the property ladder.

The Guardian has recently claimed that ‘the austere design fits with the trend for minimal living among millennials forced upon them in part by a lack of disposable income.’

  1. Sheds

An innovative project between Lowes Guardians and Studio Bark architects has produced the SHED project – an innovative U-build module which is insulated, soundproof and environmentally-friendly. Designed for the growing ‘property guardian’ market in particular, these self-contained pods can help give individuals a private living and sleeping space within a larger shared space.

Their application to ‘naked’ homes and guardian schemes are potential game changers. As, indeed, is the solution they might hold for refugees and homelessness.

  1. Multigenerational living

As we find ourselves living in an increasingly aging society, young people are finding themselves living at home or with member of the older generation. This has proven health benefits for those in old age who frequently face isolation, while also allowing young people to live in more affordable ways.

While living at home still has a certain indignity for young professionals, “granny flats” or modular builds in back gardens or garages are helping to give millennials their own space.

Whether we think it’s right or not that millennials are being forced to lower their expectations when it comes to housing, it’s certainly interesting to look at the inventive ways in which they are adapting to the conditions imposed on them. Economic and political conditions depending, these new and interesting ways of living could become increasingly more common in years to come.

Posted by Matt