United Kingdom

Cost of living: Almost half of working age households ‘behind on or struggling with housing costs’

Almost half of working age households reported being either behind on or struggling with housing-related costs, according to a think tank.

Figures by the Resolution Foundation show more than two in five (44%) working-age households reported being either behind on or struggling with housing-related costs in November.

The figures also showed that the proportion of those who have fallen behind or are struggling has jumped from 26% during the depths of the COVID pandemic in January 2021.

The Foundation suggested that while the COVID crisis worsened housing stress, the current cost of living crisis has delivered a more extensive shock to households.

Nearly half (48%) of social renters reported being unable to afford to replace electrical goods, or switch the heating on when needed, researchers found.

Cara Pacitti, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “With many renters reaching the limits of already depleted finances, this squeeze is having profound impacts on their household budgets and wellbeing.”

Nearly a fifth (19%) of social renters reported falling behind with their housing costs, as did 4% of mortgage holders. Some of those surveyed owned their home outright.

Researchers found 8% of private renters reported falling behind on housing costs in the three months leading up to November 2022.

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Many mortgage holders have not felt the immediate impacts of interest rates rising due to being on a fixed-rate mortgage deal, but they could see their costs increase when their current deal comes to an end.

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The foundation, which is focused on improving living standards for people on low to middle incomes, commissioned a YouGov survey which included nearly 8,000 working age people aged 18 to 65 across the UK in November 2022 for its latest research.

The findings were compared with a previous YouGov survey in January 2021 of more than 6,300 18 to 65-year-olds.

A range of cost of living support measures are in place to help households, including targeted support for those who are particularly vulnerable.


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