Housing needs for young single people in Penrith (2003)

This study was commissioned by Eden District Council and Eden Housing Association from Cumbria Rural Housing Trust in May 2003.

The study is a response to an apparent increase in younger single people and couples registering for housing in Eden. A snapshot of the housing register in 1990 and 2000 showed that the numbers had doubled from approximately 150 to 300. This increase took place against a trend of sharply falling applications from families and elderly people. It was accompanied by a rise in the number of young single households registered as of no fixed abode, suggesting that  homelessness among young people might be becoming more common.

Against this background, this study was designed to find out more about the housing needs and aspirations of young people, and the reasons why they were seeking help from the council (and latterly Eden Housing Association) in greater numbers. It was intended to help the council and Eden Housing Association plan to meet the needs of younger single people more effectively, both through access to suitable accommodation, and housing advice.

Key Findings
* A total of 460 forms were issued of which 119 were returned.37 of these were subsequently found to be from households with dependent children and were removed, leaving a final total of 82.
- 66% of the respondents were female and 34% were male.
- 97.5% gave their ethnic origin as white, which reflects the ethnicity of the District which is 99.3% white.
- 7 respondents indicated that they were homeless; however the number in danger of losing their present accommodation was in fact 5.
- 45% were living with parents or relatives, of the remaining 55% almost half lived alone and 35% lived with another adult.
- Employment — just under 25% of the young people were unemployed, a much higher figure than the unemployment rate for Penrith which is 0.7 %.
- Disability — 5 respondents reported some kind of disability, 2 considered that they may need specialist housing.

Current Housing Circumstances
According to age, the most common tenure, after parents and relatives, is private renting with 20% of respondents renting from private landlords and 15% renting from Housing Associations.
Unsurprisingly those living with parents had lived the longest in their current home. When asked whether they wished to move, 80% responded that they would like to find another home. Within the older age groups almost 90% responded that they wished to move.

Movers timescales and main reasons
34% of respondents wished to move immediately.36% wished to move within 6-12 months and the remainder within 2 years. Those indicating a need to move immediately stated the main reasons as overcrowding, unsuitable area, family break-up, moving back to the area and current rent too expensive. Those wishing to move within 6 to 12 months stated that they wished to move back to the area, inappropriate area or property, family problems and the need for an independent home as the main reasons. Those with more aspirational needs i.e. wishing to move within the next 2 years stated the need for an independent home.

Your next home
When asked whether they wished to rent or buy their next home 53% responded that they would like to rent and 40% that they would like to buy their next home. In general the higher the income of the respondent the more likely they were to wish to buy, with one or two exceptions.
When asked what price range they thought they could afford most respondents considered that they could purchase a property up to £70,000 in value. However an analysis of incomes