A new study has warned that over one million Britons under the age of 30 will be locked out of and forced to rent a property by the end of the decade.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimated that house purchase will be unaffordable for 1.5 million extra 18- to 30-year-olds within eight years, causing a surge in rental activity. An extra 500,000 young people will also be forced to live with their parents well into their 30s.
The thinktank said tax breaks should be available for private landlords who provide lower-rent, longer-term tenancies for vulnerable young people and families to help avert a looming "homelessness disaster".
It warned that without urgent action to improve the rental market and build more properties, up to 400,000 risked being "excluded completely".
"With 1.5 million more young people no longer able to become home-owners by 2020, it's vital we take the opportunity to make renting work better," David Clapham, the report's lead author, commented.
"To do this we need strong political leadership that is willing to work with both landlords and tenants to make it more affordable and stable for 'generation rent'."
"Young people are at a double disadvantage: it takes longer to raise enough for a deposit and their wages are generally lower. But there are simply not enough homes and those we do have cost too much to rent or buy."
"While more housing would help address this, it may not come quick enough for young people forced into renting in eight years' time."
Kathleen Kelly, programme manager at JRF, added: "Renting is likely to be the only game in town and young people are facing fierce competition to secure a home in what is an already diminished supply."
"We need to avoid turning a housing crisis into a homelessness disaster."