Almost half of all Britons could end up renting for the rest of their lives, according to the new Modern Life Report by Fidelity International.

Some 45 per cent of those who do not yet own a home think they never will. The results get even more interesting when broken down into age brackets. For instance, 41 per cent of people aged 34-54 are currently renting and almost a quarter - 23 per cent - of that age group think they will never own a property.

Nearly a quarter - 24 per cent - of over 55s still rent the property they live in, but a tenth of that age group still have home ownership aspirations.

While 65 per cent of those under 34 are more optimistic about their chances of owning a home in the future, that falls sharply when people are between the ages of 35 and 54 when only 23 per cent of people feel the same way.

Housing affordability is cited as the main reason why many people are not feeling prepared to buy a property. 

The increasing cost of buying a home largely explains why the UK home ownership rate has slumped from 73 per cent a decade ago, to just 63 per cent today.

Tom Stevenson, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International, commented: “Home ownership is deeply engrained in the British psyche and the inability to get on the property ladder can be hard to accept.

“Renting can feel like throwing money away and the flexibility it offers is no substitute for the feeling of security that owning a flat or house can provide.

"These emotional considerations can matter quite as much as the obvious financial benefits of home ownership in recent years.

“Despite the challenge that house price rises present, home ownership remains an aspiration for 14 per cent of 34-54 year olds. Interestingly, a tenth of over 55s share this goal, but 81 per cent of that age group who don’t own a home think it is unlikely they ever will.”

For landlords, of course, it’s good news. Head of Operations at Simple Landlords Insurance Gavin Pumford said: “It’s clear that long term renting is becoming a trend in the UK, and landlords need to look at their businesses with that in mind. It might well change what sort of properties they invest in, the kind of tenancy agreements they offer, and how they build relationships with tenants.