The peak was reached in 2001, when 69% of homes were owner-occupied. That figure has now dropped to 64%.
The Census reveals that the number of owner-occupied homes remained steady over the decade at about 15 million, while the total number of households increased, leading to a fall in the proportion of owner-occupied homes.
Historically, the trend has been for more people to buy their own homes, with ownership increasing for over 100 years. In 1918, the majority (77%) of households in England and Wales rented, with the remaining in ownership. Ownership has increased since then, reaching half of all households by 1971. The Thatcher years saw a continued rise as council house sales and subsidies on mortgages encouraged more people to buy their own homes, reaching an all-time high of 69% in 2001.
More people rent in London
In London, almost half of all homes are rented. The Office for National Statistics put this down to four factors:
- high house prices in the London area making ownership a distant dream for many
- a younger population, less likely to be able to afford their own home
- labour mobility
- high migrant population
The picture also varies significantly within London, with Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Islington having more than 70% of their households in rented housing.
In England and Wales as a whole, renting from private landlords almost doubled over the decade, up 1.7 million to 3.6 million in 2011, driven largely by the buy to let boom. In contrast, the number of households socially renting decreased by 100,000 to 4.1 million in 2011.
Expect more Security for Tenants
The huge increase in the number of people renting long-term has led to much talk from politicians on ways to reform the sector to give tenants more security and make landlords more “professional”. See our article on Ed Milliband’s recent speech and the approach being taken by Boris Johnson in London. Expect manifesto commitments from both parties on this topic leading up to the next election.
You can read the full ONS report on Home Ownership and Renting here.