One in five (22%) 18-44 year olds had waited for as long as six years to start a family, with over a third (37%) expecting housing costs to continue to delay their plans for another four years.
The figures come from a survey commissioned by the housing charity to discover the impact of the lack of affordable housing across all areas of people’s lives. In particular, the research examines the impact on relationships and family life.
Kay Boycott, director of policy and campaigns at Shelter, said: "These figures show just how pervasive the housing crisis is. Whilst it is responsible to ensure that you can afford to support a new baby, it is completely unacceptable that housing costs are changing important life decisions like starting a family in such a significant way."
There are also fears that delaying starting a family could affect the fertility of women who put off having children until they can access an affordable home.
Susan Seenan from Infertility Network UK said: "If people are delaying having children because of housing costs then this could have long-term implications for their ability to conceive."
The average age of a first-time buyer without financial help from family or friends is now 37 years old, up from 33 in 2005.
Ms Boycott said: "Housing affects so many areas of people’s lives. In this election year, it’s vital that all political parties make housing a top priority so that future generations can exercise choice in their family life.
"Shelter has today launched an online discussion forum so that people can have their say about the way high housing costs are affecting their lives. It’s time for people to make their voices heard and join the fight for affordable housing."
Members of the public can share their experiences on Shelter’s discussion forum at www.shetler.org.uk/campaigning
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