Is London Failing its Millennials?

london millenials

 

It may not come as much of a surprise for us Londoners, but latest statistics now prove that we are spending nearly two-thirds of our average income on rent.

With high-pressure jobs, high rent and high stress levels because of it all, is London failing its aspiring millennials?

 

Carrie's apartment in Sex & the City

Carrie’s apartment in Sex & the City

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London’s changing vibe

In the 80s and 90s young people in low paid public sector jobs or aspiring creative types could find decent, affordable housing. There was room to think creatively, breathe and ultimately, have fun!

For goodness sake, Bridget Jones had her own one bed, medium sized flat next to Borough Market, which she lived in on a copywriter salary! Admittedly, she is fictional, but regardless, this is something which is definitely not possible for anyone now, unless you are fortunate enough to come from an exceptionally wealthy (and generous) family.

Back in November of last year,  a ‘bachelorette pad’ is the modern girl’s impossible dream. She’s totally right. Millennial women have been brought up on watching Sex & the City, Bridget Jones, Gossip Girl, and all these shows and movies where the women just happen to have their own spaces.

However, in today’s London, most of us are faced with the option: flat share, or move back home to your parents.

Sanghani notes “It means that we’re essentially skipping out that ‘independent bachelorette’ stage of our lives. We either stay in a teen-like state with our mums and dads, live with friends and turn into perpetual student-types eating too much pasta, or immediately take on the responsibilities of living with a partner”

Sue Heath, professor of sociology and co-director of the Morgan Centre for the Study of Relationships and Personal Life at the University of Manchester, thinks that quality of life is also impacted directly from the issues of space in many of London’s shared houses.

“It is very difficult for any sense of communality to emerge in houses lacking shared communal spaces, or where the only space to interact is a cramped kitchen,” she said. “London is experiencing some of the worst effects of the housing crisis on young people. Landlords are increasingly offering shared bedrooms, never mind shared houses.”

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Bridget Jone's cosy Borough flat

Bridget’s cosy Borough flat

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Affordability

As much as everything this amazing city has to offer is on our doorstep, with the cost of living so high, sometimes it’s hard to enjoy it due to the sheer expense of experiencing London. From dining out, to events to drinking – it’s no secret that London is expensive.

With transport costs as well as bills on top of everything else, to live in the capital, even on a good salary – you have to be financially prepared and super money-savvy. Not having a job isn’t an option for most. With many monthly salaries just about covering 30 day’s rent, many young people are forced to work multiple low-paid jobs just to keep going.

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Priced out of London?

It does get to a point, where you wonder why you’re living like a student in a room the size of a cupboard, when you can move away altogether.

For one of my friends, moving to Birmingham is the obvious choice. Not only are there plenty of jobs in the industry he wishes to pursue, rent prices and the cost of living is considerably lower than the costs he currently incurs from commuting an hour and a half, each way every day, into Central London. It also means he can afford to not have to live at home with his parents.

Another close friend, who lives near Cardiff, has recently purchased her first house. ‘What?!’ I hear you cry! She’s 23 and has her first house, her own private bachelorette pad. Where us Londoners pay two-thirds of our salaries on rent for a room in a house, she owns a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, beaut terrace house with a cute little garden: all for a significantly less monthly mortgage repayment amount.

However, while those moving feel the benefit of being able to relocate elsewhere, many of us don’t have this option and are suffering as a consequence at the hands of unscrupulous landlords at the very bottom end of the housing market.

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But it’s not all bad…

Despite all this, there is the argument that London is where all the jobs are. It’s renowned for its vibrancy, creativity and unique local pop-ups. Each borough has something special to offer, therefore it will always have the ability to attract young people.

Ultimately London is the Capital, with arguably more jobs, more people, accessibility and more to do – London is an absolutely incredible city to live in.

Dreams are made reality and new dreams are born here.

London holds the world’s finest galleries, museums and events, which are free. Even if just a wander along one of it’s many parks, or the Thames, it’s not hard to still experience this beautiful city on a budget.

One Hackney resident, and friend, rightfully says “the culture, my friends and my job keep me here, I feel so connected to everything here and there’s so much to do that I would feel a bit lost somewhere else”.

As much as having our own space would be amazing, there’s also something really nice about having your house or flat families who you live with. That there’s always someone there for you, no matter what.

My house girlies are always here for me, and it’s so much fun to be able to cuddle up on the sofa and watch our regular programmes together after a long day.

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The looming question is, however, for how long can this last? How long will it seem worth it?

Already, for some, there is one obvious question – is a cramped and expensive space a price worth paying for living in London?

Only time will tell…

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