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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 June, 2005, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Adult kids 'fail to leave home'
A couple looking at property details in an estate agent's window
Some young adults cannot leave home due to high property prices
One in four parents say they have adult children who are still living at home, BBC research has shown.

A survey for BBC2's Money Programme found that debts and high property prices often force offspring to live at home into their twenties and thirties.

The study suggests one in seven parents with adult children have remortgaged or taken out a loan in an attempt to help.

In addition, a quarter of parents whose adult children are still at home said they were keen for them to move out.

Student debts and the difficulty in getting a foothold on the housing ladder are often blamed for offspring being unable to leave home.


The report suggests that the drain on finances created by grown-up children is a financial burden that exacerbates the difficulties posed by longer life expectancies.

The modern-day dilemma has spawned the term kippers, standing for "kids in parents' pockets, eroding retirement saving".

Nick McArthur talked to BBC Breakfast about how he copes with three grown-up children at home.

"When I was a student, I couldn't wait to move away from home but back then it was a lot easier.

"It is nice to have them at home rather than worrying about [them] when they are away.

"I just hope that they can get on their own feet and be as independent as possible," he said.

Holly McArthur, told BBC Breakfast that she felt that financial pressures of studying meant living at home was the only option.

"If I had not gone to university I wouldn't have been in the position I am now, once you start getting in debt it spirals...Now I am trying to plan everything and budget," she said.

'Honey, we can't get rid of the kids' will be shown on BBC2 at 1900BST on Friday 10 June

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

I am English and my wife is Japanese. We are both in our late 50s and have a son of 20 and a daughter of 18. We delight in the company of our children, and cannot understand the obsession in this country of getting children to leave home. All our adult lives until recently have been spent outside England (Australia, Switzerland, and Japan) and in each of these the family seems far stronger. We were in Japan until our children were teenagers, and particularly like the traditional Japanese way of living, where families stay together after children marry, 3 generations living under 1 roof, as was the case with many of our neighbours. Why do people have children if they are so keen to get rid of them? Ours have been the greatest pleasures of our lives.
peter, Cambridge UK

I left home as soon as I finished University four years ago, I couldn't wait to set up on my own. I have friends still living at home and I feel it is a burden on them. I would not expect my parents to look after me whilst I was working. Its part of growing up and there are too many people in my generation who just havn't learnt to grow up. Far too many people have become dependant on family and if that doesnt pay out then the state.
Shaun Dawson, London

I'm 26 and still living with my parents. I don't want to pay out for rent as at the end of the day the property isn't mine. I would prefer to pay to my own mortgage (if I could afford it!) and then the property would be mine. The cost of living has gone up but the wages in my profession haven't reflected this so I'm still living at home.
Caroline, Leicestershire

My father owned a large, three bedroom, two reception house in Stanmore when I was a child. Yet he worked as a bank clerk in the City. Today, the same house would be worth £300,000 to £400,000 and way outside the range of a bank clerk's wages. Today's first time buyers certainly don't have it easy!
Harry, Farnborough, England

I live and work in Cambridge. House prices are high, well paid work is hard to find. But so what? People have too much of a sense of entitlement. You have to work hard for a long time to own a house, that seems to be lost on todays 20-somethings. I've been working and living in the South East for 7 years. Renting shared houses with people who are now extremely good friends. 2 years ago I started renting a bigger house with my fiancee, and we will be married in September, only then can we afford to consider looking for a house. Wake up to the facts, house ownership is not for everyone, but independence is there for anyone who wants it.
Steve, Cambridge, UK

Selfishness and self-centredness is the problem of this generation. Do you really think that your parents bought their houses at the age of twenty five? Most did not. They worked hard, did without a lot of things to give you a home and good education. Young adults should do away with exotic holidays and all the trimmings and share houses if they need to, but they need to move out! That is the message we should be spreading!
Lucieann, London

I think that older people still living at home are too focused on themselves to think about the strain it puts on their parents. People should grow up and lose the 'I want' attitude and find a way to support themselves in what ever situation they find themselves in. What makes them think their parents can afford to keep them at home anyway?
jane, UK

I am 25 and living at home in the midlands, and have been for three years since uni, when I lived away from home. I have around £10,000 debt from uni and a job I love but which pays graduates a salary so low as to be completely out of touch with modern living costs. I have no pension yet.As my parents can't help me buy a house, I think I may be able to buy one in around ten years if I work very hard and save a lot, whive depresses me mightily! It is very hard for young people in my position and I am just hugely grateful to my parents for having me back.
Sarah, Gloucestershire

I lived with parents, although rent free I saved for two years and was able to buy a 3 bed house age 25 (now 27). No I wasn't in a high paid job, I just did without a car, expensive holidays, watched what I spent living within my means.
sukh, Ilford

I moved back home after university to work in London. High house prices are one thing but I have contributed to my parents' mortgage since I started earning - admittedly it is cheaper for me there than to rent elsewhere but this way I have also managed to save a deposit for my own place which I'm now in a position to look for. Coming from an oriental culture my parents were more than happy to have me back and actually don't want me to leave. An english friend has also just moved back home after a change of jobs. Living at home doesn't have to be burdensome for your parents - if people are put in this situation they need to give something back if they can. At the end of the day you should be able to fall back on your family for support.
Chan, London

I left home at 18, went to Uni, and never went back home. I basically treated my departure from home as final, and made decisions based upon that. I rented for several years until me and a mate could afford to buy a small flat on 2 junior professional incomes. Expectations today are a lot higher .... people aren't prepared to graft as much as they used to .... to live on the breadline without any luxuries ... to take risks in the hope of greater rewards. Hopefully my children will leave home when they need to spread their wings, but do it properly, unlike the spoilt and weak children of today .... who believe that high house prices are "wrong" simply because they can't afford them.
Martina, London

As a mortgage broker I do see first time buyers (although not enough) and attitudes vary enormously as reflected by other comments. I see people with £12000 car loans, not willing to share, get second hand furniture etc. There are ways and means for more people to get on the property ladder if only they were more organised and less selfish.
David Harrold, Penarth Vale of Glamorgan

Everyone's situation is different, but I do think that parents need to put their foot down to be honest. People don't have to own a home to move out of their parent's house - people should be thinking of the pressure it puts on their parents, not their own selfish wants. Often people say they can't afford to move out, when actually they're just lazy and like mum doing the washing for them. Yes, we all would like to own our own homes, but more often than not these days it just isn't possible until you get older. Let your parents get on with their own lives!
Di, Oxford

Although I myself am not a "Kipper", I have a younger brother and several friends that are. While no doubt many people will now start whinging about property prices, I do not think that the blame should be focused here. Instead I think that people's unwillingness to rent - and house share is to blame. I lived with two other people for a while, and it led to us living in a much nicer house than we could have done alone, as well as splitting the bills three ways leaving more money for luxury items and savings. People need to grow up, lose the "I deserve", and "must have it now" attitude and become part of the modern world.
Robert, Birmingham, UK

I feel that there is little opportunity for young adults to get their foot on the property ladder. With house prices so high, leaving little choice but to take on crippling mortgages, there is little surprise that most young adults choose to stay at home. I was lucky to move away due to University, but renting a property to avoid a mortgage on top of a student loan leaves little chance for students and young adults like myself to save money to consider buying. Overall I feel there is a new generation of tenants not home owners.
Clare Fisher, Brighton, UK

We are told that society is suffering due to the breakdown of the traditional family. Surely if more children continue to live at home until they can afford to move out this is a positive social trend. However it is up to parents to ensure that they do not allow themselves to be exploited by freeloading adult children - charge realistic board and don't cook & clean for them whilst they are out spending their diposable incomes.
Bill, Birmingham

When parents have raised their children they have had to pay out a small fortune. Should you still be living at home in your twenties then of course you should pay 'bed and board', to expect your parents to continue to carry you financially is selfish and unfair. I sympathise with students, they should not have to carry large debts to gain a good education. But for those young people who keep 'carping' about getting a foothold onto the property ladder I have no sympathy, it is no different now than it was decades ago.
noel crump, Daventry, England

What is needed are flats. Not the cheap and shoddy disasters that went up in the sixties, but properly designed and with wardens. Any disused house should be compulsorily purchased and done up. We mustn't build on green belt land, but we do need more homes in use.
David, Reading, UK

Life might not be perfect in rented accommodation but better poor and your own person than comfortable and living off on your mum and dad into your twenties and thirties (forties?!!). I left home at 16, did my A-levels and went to college hundreds of miles from my parents. It was a great learning experience and I know my family respected me more for it. It was also great fun!!
Daniel Boyce, Lisbon, Portugal

If the parents are sufficiently financially well off to be able to support their children living at home during their twenties so that they can save money to home ownership, then fair enough. But children who scrounge complaining that they can't afford to rent somewhere is a joke, (I am 25 and have supported myself since graduating), as are parents who can't let their children have their independence.
Daniel Merlo, London, England

Somebody has remarked that "people's unwillingness to rent" is to blame. No. It is ridiculous house prices that are to blame. Most people don't want to rent because most people don't like chucking their money away. It's all very well older people or the very rich scoffing, but having a generation that can't afford their own houses and have to live with their parents will be disasterous for the nation ultimately.
Chris, Thatcham, Berks

We as parents love our kids, supply them with all their needs and want to help them realise their potential. This is good when they are eight but not so good when they are 28, but where is the cut-off point? When do you decide to wean them off parental support? is it 16? No, because they take exams & (hopefully) go on to further or higher education, which can extend into their mid-20s. Those that would rather go to work at 16 to try and become independent find it extremely difficult to do so.
Gordon, Oldham, UK

I'm 27, and I've just left home for the second time having moved away at 18 to Uni and stayed in that city for another 4 years after graduating. I was forced to move back home at the age of 25 so that I could clear debts from Uni and save up for a house. I was very lucky that my parents were willing to have me back, and that they were able to help substantially with a deposit for the house. There is no way that I could have managed on my own, which is why I think it's absurd that the government wants 50% of the population to get a degree. I got a good degree from a good university, and I couldn't walk into a job that paid me enough to buy a house - certainly not once you taken paying all those loans back into account!!
Anon, UK

The cost of housing in UK is a joke, If you bought a house / flat before 2002, you can be very smug and criticize all others who did not. Unfortunately due to other commitments education / training / working your way up the ladder and being born at the wrong time. Has prevented some of the mid twenty¿s generation from owning their own home. Life should not be about house prices, it is about living. This greedy country has a lot to answer for, I have moved to Germany.
Nick, Herts

I am a 28 year old still living at home, the main a single reason I'm there is to save to buy a place of my own. This feels like a constant struggle with the ever increasing cost of living raising house prices constantly moving the goal post of what sort of money required for a deposit.
Tim, London

In Germany (where I spent two years and to where I intend to return), even students in part-time jobs can afford small, but perfectly respectable, centrally-located flats in the city of their choice. Unless you're one of the very few that land a high-paid job after graduation, remaining in the UK is likely to mean either living with your parents until you earn more (or move in with a partner) or a continuation of "student conditions" with several young people sharing overpriced and often dingy flats.
Angela, Singapore ! (ex-UK and Germany)

At 26 and living in Europe's fastest growing city, Galway, Ireland where the average house price starting off is approx. 200,000 euros, if you are lucky, i have still managed to purchase a property. It comes down to house sharing and getting an extended mortgage 30-35 years. As Robert said, get away from the "I Deserve" and "Must have it now" attitude as you will always spend what you have and dip into your savings for that special item. live where you can afford to, your 1st house is merely a stepping stone and over 25's should not be living at home, and if you are well stop moaning and go out and get your independance, you will not regret it. Havent your parents done enough??
Gerard, Ireland

The UK is obsessed with a culture of home ownership. I guess I am lucky in that I am 26 with my own home, but I've worked for it and had to rent for 5 years first. I set out with a goal and achieved it. Yes the property market has pushed prices up and yes debt has risen. However if you want something hard enough and are willing to put the effort it you can achieve it. The problem is too many people can't be bothered. Renting is far more common across Europe and doesn't not have the stigma which it seems to in the UK.
Lee Field, Wilmslow, UK

I'm 27 and have been living with my parents since University. I've not moved out because I hate the idea of renting, and while I was able to save, the increase of house prices was actually more per month than I was saving! This year I've been able to combine my savings with my partners, as well as a maximum mortgage, and this allowed us to buy a property in the Spring. I know that many people are forced to rent because of their jobs and its a bad situation for them because the 'club' of house owners are just sitting on over inflated house prices that they trade between each other.
Andrew Pearce, Bristol, UK

How can they look upon adult offspring living at home as kippers, when this speculative housing market is having dramatic wealth transference from the young to the old? Buying a property at todays prices will have serious consequences on their future prosperity, and taking on such a huge debt amounts to financial suicide.
Lee, Eastbourne, UK

Having lived outside the Uk for now more than 15 years and seeing many different cultures you get to apreciate Brits obsession with owning their own homes meaning they saddle themselves with huge mortgages spend all their lives paying them off making sacrifices to support this obsession...for what.. Live a bit take risks and enjoy life as people in many other countries do..renting hasnt the same stigma as it has in Uk...not sure why the UK has this hangup
Iain, Sao Paulo Brasil

Brits are indeed obsessed with home ownership. And then when they buy it, they spend most of their time and money redecorating and refurbishing. Its about time this culture thought more about other things in life, like having money in your pocket and not a mortgage around your neck. There are plenty of well-off countries where renting is the norm until middle-age when you can think about buying, especially on a dual income and having put a bit away over time.
Jake, Japan

Hear the opinions of a father and daughter

The cost of 'grown up' children
05 Jul 01 |  Business



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