High house prices have forced swathes of single people aged between 35 and 55 into small rental accomodation or flat shares, according to new research from Experian, released today.
Termed "midlife stopgap", by the global data company, these individuals who are either single or newly separated have become the largest group of renters in the UK, after students, the report found.
Typically, they are renting two or three bedroom Victorian or Edwardian terraced properties, shared with other adults. This group tend to be in full-time employment on an average salary of £20,000 to £29,000.
The average house price in the UK is currently £233,000, according to official Government figures from the Office of National Statistics released last week, around ten times the earnings of someone in the centre of the "midlife stopgap" income bracket, and therefore unaffordable.
"A rapid expansion in the rental sector has, for the first time, reversed almost a hundred years of rising owner occupation. Renting is no longer the preseve of the young career starters but we increasingly see groups of older people and people of varied welath joining them.