Over the years, friends talked about empty nest syndrome as their last fledgling left home. I wondered how my husband and I would feel when the time came for us.

Well, despite two of our three daughters being adults (25 and 23 respectively), empty nest syndrome appears to be a long way off yet.

As parents, we rear and nurture our offspring, preparing them for their independence. We start to relinquish more and more of our parental duties as our children take on increased responsibility for themselves. Nonetheless, the present disparity in house prices versus salary, plus the high cost of living, has skewed this and many “adult children” are living at home for much longer than previous generations.

I left home (for good) in my early 20s, while I was still a trainee lawyer. It was the first half of the 1990s and despite my pitiful salary, I was still able to put down a deposit on a modest flat in London and borrow the rest from the bank. Mortgages were usually three times salary but it was enough to buy something fairly decent. Property prices were affordable. True, mortgage rates were much higher than they are today, but the cost of living was relatively low.

Ham & High: Shelley-Anne Salisbury doesn't think her children will be leaving home anytime soonShelley-Anne Salisbury doesn't think her children will be leaving home anytime soon (Image: Shelley-Anne Salisbury)

In stark contrast, our eldest daughter (a trainee solicitor nearing qualification) simply can’t afford to move out. The lack of available/affordable rentals in London and the associated costs make it unviable. Buying is also out of the question. Our daughter has calculated that, if she lives at home for at least another year (or so), she just might be able to save enough for a deposit and hopefully meet the mortgage repayments. Her trainee salary is relatively much higher than mine ever was.

Our middle daughter graduated with a first class honours degree in illustration last summer. It’s a tough, competitive industry and notoriously badly paid. I can’t see her being able to move out any time soon.

At 14, our youngest daughter is already interior design planning and thinking about which of her friends she’ll be flat sharing with when she grows up. Let’s hope the economy improves by then, but, with the news of Credit Suisse being bailed out by the central bank as I type this column and the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, I‘m not holding my breath.

Shelley-Anne Salisbury is a mediator, writer and the co-editor of Suburb News, themediationpod.net