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Savvy young renters are using speed-dating tactics to find a home
I'm in a bar, armed with a glass of wine and a Biro. On my chest is a bright pink sticker, emblazoned with the words "I need a room". No, this isn't a new low in desperate housemate-hunting – it's all part of an organised "speed-flatmating" night. I'm faced with a sea of other sticker-wearers, all keeping our eyes peeled for someone who, on first glance, we think we might be able to bear seeing when we step out of the shower each morning. And I'm not talking about some kind of morning-after scenario here. While the speed-flatmating set-up might engender all the same nervous flutters and shy eyeing up of each other that you get at a traditional speed-dating night, the ultimate aim is strictly business – we're here because it's cheaper to share.
Flat-sharing is the new home-owning. Admittedly, not always out of choice – many of us who might have preferred to own a property, or at least to rent in peace and privacy, are having to bunk in with friends or strangers while rocketing deposits and rents make having a home of one's own utterly unaffordable. With a chunky deposit of up to £40,000 required for your first property, it's no wonder that about three million people are being priced out of the market. Instead of buying, we have to try to make homes out of rented rooms and other people's tastes in furniture.