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Page last updated at 06:06 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 07:06 UK
'Boomerang' generation back home

By Jim Reed
Newsbeat reporter

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Alexis Gay: 'Why I'm moving back to my parent's house'

The number of young men and women living with their parents has shot up over the last year, according to the latest figures seen by Newsbeat.

The housing charity Shelter reckons the recession is to blame as people in their 20s feel less secure about their job prospects and banks want a bigger deposit from first-time buyers.

An extra 111,000 16 to 29-year-olds either moved back in with their parents or decided not to move out in the 12 months to December 2008.

The rise is four times the average increase over the last five years, according to the figures from the Office for National Statistics.

'Can't afford it'

Twenty-five-year-old Alexis Gay from Wokingham in Berkshire is one of the thousands forced to return home because of the recession.

Newsbeat was there as she moved out of the two bedroom flat she shared with a friend in the centre of the town.

It can be really difficult when young people have led independent lives and have to go back to living under the rules of mum and dad
Caroline Davey from housing charity Shelter

"Just after I moved in I was made redundant from my job as a legal assistant. I couldn't find work for five months and, ever since, it's been a bit of temp work here and there. I just can't afford to stay here," she said.

"I haven't lived with my parents for seven years and I'm used to being really independent. I get up when I want, I eat when I want and I have friends over when I want. It's going to be like I'm 16 all over again."

One in four men and one in six women in their 20s now live with their parents, according to the latest government figures.

The number has been steadily rising over the last decade, a trend blamed on people settling down later and the rising cost of going to university.

But housing experts say the big jump over the last year can only really be explained by the downturn in the economy.

Caroline Davey at the housing charity Shelter said that young people are at the "sharp end" of the recession.

Juliet Gay
Alexis's mum Juliet says she has mixed feelings about the move

"We see unemployment going up and economic difficulties for everyone. Young people have been priced out of the housing market for quite some time now and that's only going to continue," she said.

"House prices may have come down but they are still high by most standards and the deposits that lenders are asking for now are absolutely huge. The problem is a real lack of affordable options for people to live.

"It can be really difficult when young people have led independent lives and have to go back to living under the rules of mum and dad. It is a major adjustment both for them and their parents."

'Mixed feelings'

A 2007 survey of young people across the European Union found that money was the main factor when deciding whether to leave home for the first time.

Almost four in 10 British people between the age of 15 and 30 said they could not afford to move out with an even greater number saying there was a lack of accordable housing on the market.

In a coffee break between packing tins of food and kitchen gadgets, Alexis's mum Juliet said she has mixed feelings about her daughter moving back home.

"Part of me is really looking forward to it as we get on very well. But I'm used to getting up when I want to get up and going out when I want to go out. I'm getting a bit selfish now in my old age," she said.

"I think knowing too much about Alexis might be a bad thing. I'm going to be seeing more of her life now so that's a bit of a worry."



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