Millions delaying starting a family '˜due to housing crisis'

The majority of Scots aged 44 and under say their lives are on hold as a result of the housing crisis, which is forcing them to put off major decisions such as marriage or having children.

People are putting off starting a family because of a lack of housing. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The report from Shelter Scotland found that a struggle to find affordable homes is reshaping the way millions of people live their lives and creating entirely new timescales for hitting traditional life milestones.

More than one million – 53 per cent – of 18 to 44-year-olds in Scotland say housing problems are a major factor when considering life-changing decisions.

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The Scottish “housing crisis” formed a major part of the debate ahead of this year’s Holyrood elections, with the major parties proposing new targets and schemes to build new affordable homes.

Marriage and family was a major area of concern, with 15 per cent of thos surveyed who were in relationships saying they had postponed marriage, or expected to do so as a result of housing pressures. Many couples are also facing problems starting a family – 18 per cent of people in relationships have put off having children, or are expecting to in the future, which they say is also due to housing pressures.

Adam Lang, spokesman for Shelter Scotland, said: “Everyone deserves the chance to have a home where they can put down roots and build a life for themselves. But our ever-growing housing crisis means hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland feel they are being left behind – unable to reach many of the crucial life milestones that were taken for granted by the generations who came before them.

“It’s heart-breaking in 21st Century Scotland to see so many people still living in housing limbo, facing a frustrating lifetime of instability and feeling unable to move forward with their lives.”

He added: “This housing crisis is everyone’s problem and it’s the responsibility of all of us to help fix it.”

The research also showed that 15 per cent of 18 to 44-year-olds in Scotland said housing problems were a key factor in stalling their career and had experienced or expected a delay in finding job opportunities. It showed that younger people already feel retirement is slipping out of reach, with 9 per cent saying they thought it would be delayed because of housing.