The boomerang generation: Why are people moving back home?

At least 6.2 million Brits moved back in with their parents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Even before lockdown began on 23 March 2020, a lot Brits were anticipating the shutdown of the UK. As the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout Europe, the UK watched as one after another, its neighbouring countries began to go into lockdown.

With this in mind, many Brits moved back home to be with their families, to ensure that they would be locked down in the best possible circumstances. We’ve done some research to find out how many moved back in with parents and what this has meant for renters.

Quick overview

  • 6.2 million Brits (12%) said they have moved back in with their parents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • When you factor in parents who said their adult children have moved home with them, this figure could rise to as much as 20% (10.5 million)
  • Two thirds (68%) of those who moved home said they expected to stay put for the foreseeable future.
  • Of those who have moved home, around 1.1 million Brits (18%) said they are paying rent on accommodation that they are not using. Over the first 3 months of lockdown, this cost an average of £2,658 per person and £2.9 billion across the UK.

How many have moved back in with their parents?

At least 6.2 million Brits (12%) say have moved back in with their parents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those that have moved home, over two thirds (68%) plan to make the move more permanent and currently have no planned move out date.

It’s clear that the financial hardships caused by the pandemic are far from over, with 1.2 million Brits (2%) saying they still plan to move back in with their parents in the near future. This is likely due to fears of job loss and a second wave of social distancing restrictions in the coming months.

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Percentage Total
Moved back permenantly 67.51% 4,192,268
Moved back temporarily 32.49% 2,017,529

What are they doing about their rent?

Some Brits have continued to pay their rent despite not using the accommodation. In fact, 1.1 million (18%) of those who have moved out have continued to do so. The average cost of rent in the UK is £886 per month and lockdown has lasted three months. This means that young renters have paid £2,658 on average for unused accommodation, which comes to £2.9 billion total across the UK. With the second wave of social distancing measures introduced for a possible 6 months, this total is only like to increase as people continue to stay with parents.

However, not all renters who have moved back in with their parents have continued to pay rent. Around 13% of individuals who have moved home have not renewed their tenancy, making this the second most common scenario. A further 12% have managed to cancel their tenancy altogether. Through talking to their landlord, 10% have managed to negotiate a rent reduction and 7% have chosen to take a rent holiday.

Percent
Continued paying without using it 17.71%
Didn't renew tenancy 12.97%
Cancelled tenancy 11.97%
Rent reduction 10.22%
Rent holiday 7.48%
Sublet 5.74%
Refused to pay 4.49%
Other 4.49%
Don't need to pay rent 24.94%

Generational differences

Although a higher proportion of Gen Z was more likely to move home, due to the larger population of millennials, they made up the largest population of movers (44%), with 2.8 million moving back home. Generation Z was the second-largest movers (40%), with 2.5 million moving home. Understandably, far less Generation X and Boomers moved back with parents.

Generation Moved home Percentage
Generation Z (Born after 1996) 2,489,159 40%
Millennials (1981-1996) 2,751,176 44%
Generation X (1965-1980) 838,454 14%
Boomers (1946-1964) 131,008 2%

Mortgage and housing insights

Finder’s mortgage and housing expert Matthew Boyle’s advice:

Matthew Boyle
  • “It’s unsurprising that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused younger generations to move back in with their parents, but most have continued to pay rent for unused flats, which will no doubt be very frustrating.
  • “The government has asked for landlords to be understanding towards tenants during these times, so if you fall into this category, try negotiating a reduced rate. For those who don’t intend to return anytime soon, you could also look at subletting your room or perhaps even ending your tenancy. Even if these options aren’t possible, you could compare energy providers and insurance policies to see if any savings could be made – it all adds up.
  • “On the bright side, you may have saved more than you think by staying at home. Our research found that during lockdown, Brits have saved £99 per week by not going to work and socialising, now totalling £1,188 after 12 weeks of lockdown.”
  • For all media enquiries, please contact

    Matt Mckenna
    UK communications manager
    T: +44 20 8191 8806
    matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

    Methodology

    • Zoopla
    • Finder commissioned Onepoll on 10-12 June 2020 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+
    • A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region

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