A lack of affordable housing is causing couples to delay the start of parenthood, it has been suggested.
Research by housing charity Shelter has found that 18 per cent of those aged between 18 and 44 are deliberately putting off starting a family due to the high cost of buying a home.
It found that 22 per cent have waited an extra six years due to this factor, with another 37 per cent revealing they intend to wait another four years.
Director of policy and campaigns at Shelter Kay Boycott said: “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.”
The charity also noted that the average age of a first-time buyer who has not had help from family or friends to get on the ladder is now 37, compared with 33 in 2005.
Despite the findings, the birth rate in England and Wales has been increasing every year since 2001, according to the Office for National Statistics, which would suggest that most people are getting round to starting a family eventually.