High house prices have acted as a form of birth control, with nearly 160,000 fewer children being born over the last two decades than had been predicted.
Think tank the Adam Smith Institute says couples are having smaller families than they would like because they are either stuck in rented accommodation or cannot afford to buy a larger home.
The report, by Andrew Sabisky, says if the trend continues, it will be a demographic time bomb, because there will be fewer working people paying taxes, while the number of over-85s soars, putting the NHS and care services under worsening strain.
Sabisky said: “The housing crisis is wrecking the lives of the people of this country, preventing them from having the children they want to have.
“This private tragedy will, in the long run, entail massive knock-on costs to public finances.”
His report, Children of When, argues that more house building should be allowed on the Green Belt, and that Stamp Duty should be scrapped to help elderly home-owners downsize.
It says that average house prices tripled in England between 1995 and 2016, causing a 1.3% fall in the number of births between 1996 and 2014.
Sabisky said: “Higher house prices mean higher deposits and higher rents make deposits harder to save for.
“In the ten years between 2004 and 2014, home ownership fell from 60% to 35% among 25 to 34-year-olds, the key child-bearing demographic.
“Money that would otherwise be spent on children must instead be redirected towards rent and deposit saving. The property they are able to buy will often be too small to fit a large family.
“Even when young people are able to buy a suitable property, the process of saving can often take up many years, pushing women towards older motherhood.
“This in turn has a limiting effect on family size.”