Middle-aged singletons and divorcees are the second largest group to rent in the UK, following students

According to new Experian research, high house prices have forced single people aged between 35 and 55 into small rental accommodation or flat shares.

The global data company termed this notion as a “midlife stopgap”, stating that 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 month, around ten times the earnings of someone in the centre of the “midlife stopgap” income bracket, and ultimately 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 preserve of the young career starters but we increasingly see groups of older people and people of varied wealth joining them,” said Nigel Wilson, marketing director at Experian.

“A prolonged stay on the bottom of the property ladder creates a shortage of supply for newcomers, forcing them to seek alternative options. This is amply demonstrated by a recorded increase in the length of residency for younger families in starter homes, rising to 11 years from five, forcing others to look to rent property.”