The Death of the Bachelor Pad?
These days, more and more young people are staying at home well into their 20s, rather than moving out on their own. While some parents are thrilled by this, others might be wondering when exactly their adult children are going to cut the apron strings and fly the nest. Those with sons might find that they have longer to wait though, as it seems that the boys are staying put for much longer than the girls…
A recent survey conducted by home valuation site PropertyPriceAdvice.co.uk found that out of their participants that fell into the 18-24 year old category, there were twice as many females as males. “This significantly larger group were answering questions relating to their interest in buying houses, making home improvements and the property market in general,” says Rachel Bexon from Property Price Advice. “This seems to show that young females nowadays seem to be much more proactive when it comes to getting their foot on the property ladder.”
So, what happened to young men wanting to fly the nest and get their own bachelor pads? Surely a flat with a couple of mates, some LazyBoy recliners and a never-ending diet of takeaway pizzas is the top of every 20-something male’s wish list?
It seems that boys no longer want to live the Joey-and-Chandler bachelor lifestyle; instead, they’re happier staying at home with mum and dad. The number of youngsters living with their parents well into their 20s has increased to record levels over the past few years. Government statistics reveal that in 2011, three million ‘children’ aged between 20 and 34 were still living at home.
High unemployment rates and difficult property markets have been cited as the reasons behind the British 20-something’s reluctance to moving out – but again, there’s a strong gender imbalance. While 1.1 million young women still live at home, the figure for men of the same age is much higher. A whopping 1.8 million eligible young men are still enjoying the same pampered lifestyle that they had in their teens.
These figures could be explained away – and made a little less damaging to male pride – by the fact that women tend to settle down with partners earlier. Rachel makes this point: “The difference in behaviour highlighted in our study between men and woman could be down to the fact that on average woman tend to form relationships younger and with men older than themselves. The Office of National Statistics released a report in 2011 which showed that 600,000 more woman than men aged between 20-34 were living as part of a couple which is in line with our findings.” Also, according to national statistics, women in the UK get married an average of two years earlier than men; so maybe their head start on the boys isn’t quite the strike for independence that it might seem.
However, some studies suggest that men simply don’t cope as well living on their own as women do, which could still account for why they’re hanging around at home for so long. A survey carried out by Unilever in 2005 asked men and women in single-person households how they feel about living on their own. Women were found to enjoy the independent lifestyle much more than men, with only 48% of them reporting feelings of loneliness, compared to 55% of men. Men were also more likely to say that they hadn’t chosen to live alone but had to due to circumstances (mum and dad kicking them out, maybe?), and only 1 in 4 said that living alone had a positive impact on their relationships with their families (tension because mum and dad kicked them out, maybe?)
Overall, the bachelor pad dream seems to be quickly dying out for the 20-something man. Based on this fact, it’s a miracle that takeaway restaurants made it through the recession at all.
- The survey was completed independently by PFA research Ltd
- 1,057 people completed the Property Price Advice survey in total
- 53% of respondents were female, 45% were male and 2% did not wish to say
- The survey sampled the whole of the UK and there was an even spread of respondents
- The age ranges of participants included 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65-74 and 75+ although the results featured in this article refer specifically to the 18-24 group