WELCOME to generation rent, a land where the great British dream of owning your own home has become a nightmare.

New figures prove beyond doubt what many of us have known for some time: that more and more people are simply unable to get on the home ownership ladder.

Increasing numbers are opting to rent and forecasts are that this will go on rising in the years ahead.

But is that really a bad thing? Home ownership has become a national obsession over the last 50 years, while our European cousins have been quite happy to rent rather than buy.

This is Britain, however, and property is seen as long-term security. Renting is for students, isn’t it?

The answer is not any more. Many young people haven’t got a prayer of raising a decent deposit without parental help. And those parents face their own pressures, with falls in their standard of living and uncertainty over the cost of elderly care looming over them.

To quote Lionel Bart’s lyric: Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be.

The hard fact is that they may never be the same again in the housing market.