OPINION: A generation stuck in the rental trap?

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Get an education, get a job, settle down – maybe marry – and then buy your own house.

More or less, that’s what the average trajectory through life is for most people – or at least that’s what many in Sheffield, across South Yorkshire and indeed the country aspire to.

Forget being a millionaire footballer or a famous pop star, the majority of people are just looking for a normal path through a normal life, and want to carve out a little slice of the world to call their own.

But for a generation of young people, that is becoming less and less of a reality and more of a pipe dream, thanks to ever increasing house prices, decreasing real-term wages and the creeping cost of renting.

Today, on page 10, The Star can report the average rental costs across the city, based on a tram map created by a Digital Media Team.

The result? For a two-bed city centre flat, you’re looking at a staggering £827 per month.

Even heading further from the centre, you’re looking at £594 for Hillsborough and £561 for Crystal Peaks.

In many cases, that’s going to be more than a mortgage would cost per month, and that’s not taking into account the fact that your house will gain value and you’ll one day pay it off and own it.

It comes after another report on Saturday which revealed that renting a property in South Yorkshire over the last five years has cost the equivalent of a 20 per cent deposit on a house.

And that’s why young people are struggling to afford a 10 per cent deposit, let alone 20. That’s before you factor in the jobs market.

Wages are failing to keep pace with cost of living increases, and renters are paying out a massive and increasing chunk of wages just for a roof over their heads.

There are so many people still living with parents into their late 20s for this reason, while many of their parents’ generation work out how whether to spend their massive equity on a second property or a bar in Spain.

Something needs to be done, and fast, or we risk having an entire generation of young people for whom the property ladder slowly disappears from view while they burn bundles of cash to keep lucky landlords warm at night.

Schemes like the Government’s Help To Buy are a start, but more is needed to help bring an entire generation of the cold and into first homes that they can actually call their own – before they are lost in the rent cycle forever.