A report by independent think tank ResPublica shows that 22% of British adults in the UK now live in the private rented sector. The proportion of housholds that are privately rented has more than doubled since hitting its historical low of just 9% in 1991, reaching a level not seen since the late 1960s.
The report â€“ published in partnership with Co-operatives UK â€“ was brought out to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘property owning democracy’ speech to the Conservative party conference of 1985, in which she outlined her aim to increase home ownership to 75%. At the time, home ownership was at 61%. Thirty years later, the proportion of home owners in the UK has returned to that same figure, falling from a peak of 69% in 2001.
The published data suggests that the decline in home ownership could be linked with the rise of self-employment, which reached a 30-year high in 2014. Some 15% of the population are now self-employed, representing 4.6 million people. ResPublica warned of â€œincreasing income insecurity,â€ with average income from self-employment falling by 22% over the last seven years.
Although the government has pledged to increase housebuilding, the prolonged housing shortage means that private renting will continue to be the only financially viable option for a growing number of people.