The Boomerang Generation

Definitions: Millennial - “a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.”

Boomerang - “to come back or return, as a boomerang.”

There is no doubt that life is tough for young adults in the current economic climate. High house prices, soaring rents, poor wages, limited job security, zero-hour contracts and (for many) the burden of student debt: the list of obstacles to independent living is long. It is, therefore, no surprise that hundreds of thousands of millennials are now members of the Boomerang Generation:  trapped in an adolescent limbo well into their thirties. And research suggests that many of them expect to stay there forever. 

A recent set of ONS figures suggests that almost 100,000 millennials who live with their parents think they will never move out. Currently more than a million young adults are still in their childhood bedrooms - and if the trend continues, another half a million will be living with their parents in the next decade. 

Analysis of ONS data by insurance company Aviva suggested that the number of young people aged between 25 and 34 who still live at home has grown to 1.23 million: an increase of over 33% in the last 10 years. The insurer added that high house prices were to blame. During this same period, the price of the average first home has risen from £146,000 to £211,000, while wages have stagnated. Official figures for graduate earnings in the UK showed that typical salaries of £24,000 for young graduates in 2008 had not risen at all by 2015. And graduates are, generally speaking, relatively well off (debt notwithstanding) so what chance for the growing numbers on a zero-hours contract or working for apprenticeship wages (well below the national minimum) or zero pay internships?

Of course, most parents are happy to rehome their beloved children, as they struggle to find their feet in the murky depths of the modern employment landscape, but it is not always a comfortable co-living arrangement. Aside from the regular negotiations over household chores, who foots the grocery-shopping bill or who deserves custody of the remote control, the issue of house rules and privacy is typically fraught with embarrassment and resentment. Curfews, sex, late night drunken food raids using the last of the breakfast supplies…..all litter the house rule minefield of living with kids who are, in fact, adults.

The average first-time buyer in England will now need around £23,000 in savings to afford the upfront costs on an average house, which represents around 42 weeks of the average fulltime worker’s salary. The figures are obviously even more unattainable if you live in London or similar high property price areas. However, even if your Bank of Mum and Dad funds are sufficient to give your child a leg up onto the property ladder, your generosity may well be misplaced given the uncertain economic outlook and job insecurity. And, let’s face it, interest rates are only going to move up from here.

It might be time to begin thinking outside the box when planning to evict, or rather rehome, your perennially adolescent, millennial adult offspring and re-establish a healthy degree of independence for them, and for you. For around about the same sum of money as a deposit and house purchase fees, you could build a self- contained annex in your garden.

A Garden Escape can be designed to allow fully independent living, including a bathroom and kitchen facilities and (oh joy) its own front door. State of the art, eco-friendly design features will ensure minimal running costs and an aesthetically pleasing, beautiful addition to the main family home. It might even boost your own property value in to the bargain!

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