The 40-year-old flat sharer: they’re broke, probably newly single and on the rise… Oh and if you’ve got a spare room, they’ll take it!

Thought your days of looking for a roomie were behind you? Soaring property prices and the breakdown of relationships mean that an increasing number of 40 and 50-year-olds are looking for a flat share

If you’re reading this and are happily married with a steady income and a place to call your own then you’ll be forgiven for allowing yourself a smug grin right about now.

The days of labelling your food in the fridge and eating dinner in your bedroom ‘cos your flatmate’s smooching with her boyfriend on the sofa are waaaaaay behind you. Yessir – congratulations, you’ve made it!

But alas, for a growing number of 40-plus-year-olds it’s a very different story. According to flat-sharing website Spareroom, the number of mid-lifers looking for a roomie in on the rise.

In 2013 it estimated that 60,000 over-40s placed a ‘room wanted’ ad with Spareroom – 20,000 more than five years ago. Add to this the number of people in this age bracket responding to an ad and the total of 40 and 50-year-olds looking to flat share is likely to be even higher.

This trend supports recent figures released from the Office of National Statistics suggesting that 26% of adults in the UK aged between 20 and 34 are living with mum and dad. Hardly surprising when you consider that the average age for a first-time buyer is now 35 years old.

And it’s not likely to get much better any time soon: only this week Chancellor George Osborne warned that house prices are set to continue rising for the next 10 years. Even more terrifying when you consider that the average price of getting your foot on the housing ladder is currently around £184,000, which requires an income of around £50,000 to secure a mortgage. The average salary in the UK is £26,000… we’ve done the maths and, well, it doesn’t look good. Sorry mum and dad.

Matt Hutchinson from Spareroom told Property Reporter: ‘It splits into two: some people are still sharing in their 40s because they can’t afford to get on the property ladder; and that’s because we’re in the grip of a housing crisis.

‘That means property prices are going up and increasing rents mean people can’t save a deposit in the way they used to.

‘But on the other side of the coin there are people sharing for the first time in their lives or returning to sharing because a relationship has broken up or they have lost their jobs. Previously people in that position would have rented a one-bedroom flat.’

Matt Hutchinson also sees the lack of new housing being built as part of a growing problem.

So, if you thought flat shaing was just for students, you’d better think again. Oh yeah, and buy a pair of flip-flops for the bathroom while you’re at it…

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