A generation of over 50s is taking to renting either as a lifestyle choice or because they cannot afford to buy a home of their own.

These renters live alone (48%), pay an average £1,000 a month rent and live in two bedroomed homes (44%).

Property experts at letting agency Hamptons International have crunching new data also discovered the number of over 50 renters is increasing faster than any other age group.

The analysis found 15% of buy to let homes are rented by the over 50s – up from 11% in 2012 when the figures were first logged.

Nearly a third of all renters over 50 are past retirement age.

The agents reckon the over 50s have taken on almost 792,000 private rented homes in the past year, which is a 61% increase on 2012 and 8.2% from last year.

The over 50s are paying around £9.2 billion in rent this year – a rise on last year’s £8.5 billion and a big increase on 2012’s £5.1 billion.

Although the renters are spread evenly around the country, most (19%) live in the South East, while the number 11% in London, the East of England and Yorkshire & The Humber.

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International, said: “The number of over-50s renting in Great Britain has reached a record high.

“With younger generations much less likely to be homeowners, tenants are getting older, and an ever more diverse group of people are calling the rented sector home.

“Rising rents in the South drove rental growth in Great Britain in May. The South West recorded the strongest rental growth, with rents rising 4% year-on-year. Wales and the East were the only regions to record small rent falls.”