Fewer than one in fifteen (6%) of new graduates who move to London come from the most disadvantaged fifth of UK neighbourhoods according to Home Advantage, a new report published by the Sutton Trust today. This contrasts to 42% that come from the most advantaged fifth of UK neighbourhoods. Those from the South East find it easier to gain a foothold in the capital, with fewer than 20% of graduates moving to London from outside the region.

Today’s report, by Kath Scanlon, Melissa Fernandez, Emma Sagor and Christine Whitehead of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), analyses the current housing situation for the young professionals in London and offers innovative solutions to the crisis.

Since 2001, the authors report that London’s population has increased by 12%, but the housing stock has only increased by 9% during the same period. For many of the UK’s top jobs – in law, medicine, the media and finance – London is the place to be, but young people, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, are being priced out of the housing market.

High housing demand has left many young graduates caught in a housing trap, where rising private rents leave them unable to save for a deposit. The number of single people aged 25 – 34 living in shared accommodation has risen by 28% in the last decade and in 2014 there were only two London boroughs – Bexley, and Barking and Dagenham – where the average house price was less than eight times an average person’s income.

Home Advantage warns that this has worrying implications for social mobility and has led to a growing imbalance between those who can turn to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ for support – whether by paying a deposit, guaranteeing a loan, or being able to provide accommodation themselves – and those who cannot. Data published in today’s report shows there are now more graduates (15%) living with their parents than on their own (11%).

To make sure that working and living in London is a realistic goal for bright young graduates from all backgrounds, the Sutton Trust and the authors of the report are urging candidates in the 2016 mayoral election to consider innovative and new types of housing schemes to address the supply-side problem.

Specifically, the report recommends:

  • Market-based student-type housing, which can enable young people to gain a foothold in the capital in the short-term, with a proven track-record of success;
  • Age-targeted privately-rented housing developments, which tailors housing design, amenities and business models to suit the needs of young professionals;
  • Factory built pre-fabricated housing, which produces simple housing quickly and at limited expense, providing effective transitional housing for those leaving university;
  • Covenanted privately-rented housing, where as a condition of planning permission, new dwellings remain in the private rented sector for a set number of years.

 Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said today:

“So many of our leading jobs are based in London yet the current housing situation is making it increasingly difficult for graduates from less advantaged homes to move here. Our brightest young people deserve the same chances to reach the top of their professions or to be able to turn their talents into businesses whatever their background.”

“Today’s report presents some really promising solutions to the housing trap that many young Londoners find themselves caught in. I hope that all the candidates to be London Mayor in 2016 – and the current team in City Hall – will look at these innovative solutions carefully and find ways to take them forward.”

Kath Scanlon, LSE Research Fellow and co-author of the report, said:

“Young professionals find themselves little better than non-graduates in the London housing market. Those who move to London almost always have to share with increasing numbers who can live with mum and dad. There are important innovations being tried – but all need scale if they are to be successful.”

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Hilary Cornwell or Conor Ryan on 0207 802 1660.


  1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 150 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions.
  2. To place the movements into London in context, according to the most recent UCAS figures, 11.5% of young first year students enrolled on full-time first degree undergraduate courses are from the most disadvantaged fifth of the UK. This is according to the POLAR2 measure, which classifies UK wards into five groups, based upon the proportion of 18 year olds who enter higher education between the ages of 18 and 19; the same measure used in this report.
  3. In formulating the report the LSE team analysed Census and Labour Force Survey data, interviewed housing experts and young London tenants, and conducted case studies of several innovative residential developments in the capital. Discussion of the 2012/13 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey was based upon analysis by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU).

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