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'MOSHing' is a way of living for young singles

‘MOSHing’ is a way of living for young singles

The continued property crisis affecting would-be first-time buyers coupled with a rise in the number of singles in the UK is seeing alternative ‘family’ units created, giving birth to the MOSH according to a new report by

This type of MOSHing does not include head-banging to metal music; it’s all about embracing the ‘Multiple Occupant Shared Home’ and challenging the traditional household structure. has worked with futurologists at Future Poll, the research division of The Future Laboratory, on the new study into the friendship and finances of single people in the UK, which explores the growing trend for best mates to create alternative ‘family’ units.

The research* found:

  • 57% of singles have a friend they trust enough to buy a house with
  • 59% of singles would consider insuring the life of a friend if they bought a house together
  • 30% of singles have multiple mates they would buy property with
  • 65% of singles who don’t own a home worry that they will never be able to purchase a property
  • 59% of singles who don’t own a property say that owning a home would greatly improve their quality of life
  • 64% of single 18–24-year-olds have friends they trust enough to buy a house with, compared with 47% of those over 55

Single-person households are projected to increase by 163,000 per year – from 6.8m in 2006 to 10.9m in 2031 – and singleton households could outnumber any other kind of household by 2031, according to the Government Office for Science**. This shift in behaviour among young people will mean MOSHing is tipped to become mainstream over the next decade. The report predicts that MOSHing will become a lifestyle of choice for men and the younger generation of singles, and so it will be vital to protect these co-dependent lifestyles with some form of insurance.

Men are already MOSHing more than women. Twice as many single men (10%) have bought a house with a friend compared to just 5% of single women surveyed. Some 44% of men would be comfortable owning a property with a friend, compared with 38% of women. Young people are native MOSHers, according to the research. More than six in 10 (64%) single 18–24-year-olds have friends they trust enough to buy a house with, compared with around half (47%) of those over 55.

Young MOSHers also have more friends they would trust enough to buy a house with: 18–24-year-old singles have 36%, while those over 55 have just 21%.

Matt Lloyd, Head of Life Insurance at, says:
 “Friendships have always to a certain degree provided an amount of financial support but that trend has certainly been increasing over recent years, with more and more people taking out ‘mates mortgages’ to try and circumvent the current strict lending criteria. This coupled with lower overall marriage rates and higher average marriage ages for many means owning a home with a friend is a commonly considered option – and this is likely to become even more prevalent with time.”

MOSHing is likely to create new roles in shared households, reflecting the needs of the group, as Chris Sanderson, co-founder of The Future Laboratory, explains:

“Thinking about new urban households, MOSHers could start to have one person who is a breadwinner and one person who is taking a lesser role in terms of making money, but is staying at home to look after the collective house. A group of single people still need to live in a clean and tidy house. All need their shopping and washing done, so you could have someone in the household with this responsibility.”

Social networking is accelerating friendship and young people are connecting to more people and sharing things in a way that would be impossible in their busy offline lives. Their constant connection to their friends online means that they increasingly want to make these online communities concrete, as Chris Sanderson explains:

“The continued growth of social networking has had a marked effect on the way young people view notions of community. What started out as an understanding of community through social networks that were intangible is now one that is taking root and being created with bricks and mortar.”

And friends trust each other more with online secrets than they do their family: Twice as many singles would rather have a friend see their browsing history than let a family member see what they have been looking at online.

Mike Hoban, Chief Marketing Officer at explains how this will impact insurers:

“Insurance companies are increasingly using social media to communicate with young audiences and the next stage is to recognise, and respond to, the real-life social networks which are structuring the new ‘urban families’ as friends set up home together, supporting one another both financially and emotionally. As our report demonstrates, friendships are increasingly important to independent single people in the UK and a financial industry that caters for single people and couples alike is one that is prepared for the future of personal finance.”

“We anticipate that a new market will develop with MOSHers taking out life insurance on their fellow MOSHers to make sure that they are covered in the case of death.” Concludes Matt Lloyd at

The report, entitled ‘Friendships, Finance and the Future: The Rise of Singledom in the UK’, is published today, June 20 2012, by and can be downloaded.

The downloadable study includes infographics and viewpoints from the following experts:
• Chris Sanderson, co-founder, The Future Laboratory
• Emily Barr, bestselling author
• Jody Day, founder, Gateway Women: supporting, inspiring and empowering childless women


Media information:
Journalists can email or phone 07551 005 877
Or email or phone 02920 434275 or 07788310289 for further details.

• Case studies are available on request
• Regional statistics are also available on request

* 2,000 single UK adults were interviewed. Fieldwork was conducted 20–24 April 2012, the research was carried out online by Future Poll for Unless otherwise stated this is the source of all statistics quoted in this report.

** Single-person households are projected to increase by 163,000 per year – from 6.8m in 2006 to 10.9m in 2031 – and singleton households could outnumber any other kind of household by 2031, according to the Government Office for Science. Source: Singleton Settlements: The Increase in Single Households, The Sigma Scan 2.0, 18 May 2011

Desk research and phone interviews were also carried out by Future Poll for, during May 2012.

Additional research:

  • The largest percentage increase in numbers marrying from 2009 to 2010 were men aged 45 to 49 and women aged 30 to 34, both of which rose by 6%.
    Source: Marriages in England and Wales, 2010, Office for National Statistics, 29 February 2012
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of new fathers were aged 30 and over in 2010.
    Source: Live births in England and Wales by characteristics of mother 2010, Office for National Statistics, 20 October 2011

About was the UK's first price comparison site for car insurance. is one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services. Launched in 2002, it generates over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the last couple of years to include home insurance, travel insurance, pet insurance, van insurance, motorbike insurance, breakdown cover and energy, as well as financial services products including credit cards, loans, mortgages and life insurance. is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides a free, objective and unbiased comparison service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more.’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators. is owned by the Admiral Group plc. Admiral listed on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004. is regulated by the FSA.

About Future Poll:

Established in 2001, The Future Laboratory is a global trend forecasting, consumer insight and brand innovation consultancy, helping clients know what’s new and next. As the research division, Future Poll brings the mindset of The Future Laboratory to client commissions, offering a fresh approach to market research, trend and consumer insight and communications content.

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