The rise of the silver room sharer – over 50 housemate numbers up 74%

Our latest data has looked at the changing face of the house share landscape and how more and more people above the age of 50 are turning to a house share as a viable way of living either as a live-in landlord or as a roommate.

Data from thousands of room share listings across the UK shows that the current average age of a room share tenant is 30 years old.

House sharing has become a popular choice for many, particularly in major UK cities, where the cost of renting is too high to tackle alone. So far in 2019, we have already seen a 24% increase in the number of people opting to room share on ideal flatmate when compared to last year as a whole.

As you may expect, the 18-25 age category accounts for the largest percentage of all room share tenants, with 43% of those renting via ideal flatmate falling into this bracket. This starts to decline as the age increases:

  • 36% of room shares are aged between 25-35
  • 13% between 35-45
  • 6% between 45-55
  • Just 2% are aged 55 or over

But is this starting to change?

In 2019 alone, we have seen on ideal flatmate a 74% increase in the number of over 50s using their platform when compared to 2018, either to find a room share applicant to fill their spare room or as an applicant themselves looking for a room to rent.

Co-founder of ideal flatmate, Tom Gatzen, commented:

“While the older age brackets still account for a very small number of room share applicants as a whole, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of people over 50 opting to search for either a housemate or a spare room for themselves.

I think perceptions are starting to change and there has been a number of great stories around older people welcoming others into their homes, particularly younger roommates. Previously it carried a bit of stigma, much like living with your parents at the age of 30 use to, but as rents continue to climb and the issue of affordability grows ever larger, I think people of all ages are starting to band together and tackle the rental market in whatever way they can.

The ability to verify people and the information and checks required has also provided an additional layer of security for older applicants and as more of the older population becomes silver surfers, their ability to adapt and adopt new technology has changed the way they do things from shopping to contacting family, and now even renting.

Age is just a number and it’s one that doesn’t seem to hold any bearing what so ever when looking for that ideal flatmate and we expect that the fabric of the UK rental sector will continue to evolve as a result of this diversity and acceptance.”

Case Study

Average age of flatshare tenant – by age category
Age categoryAverage age% of Total Count
Average age of all flatshare tenants30N/A

Average age of over 50s flatshare tenant and growth
YearAverage ageChange (2018-2019)