According to the latest figures from the English Housing Survey, published earlier this week, home ownership has fallen to its lowest level since the 1980s.
Of the total number of households in England in 2011/12 (an estimated 22m), 65% were owner occupied, 17% were privately rented and 17% were socially rented. Home ownership peaked in 2003, when 71% of the total number of households were owner occupied.
In 2005/6 the number of owner-occupied homes stood at 14.8m. By 2011/12, this figure had dropped to 14.4m. Over the same period, privately rented households increased from 2.4m to 3.8m.
Of the 14.4m owner occupiers in England, the largest number by quite some way are people aged 65 and over, equal to a record 30% of the total. There are 4.3 million home owners in this age group, which is more than a million higher than the next highest age group (45-54).
The average gross household income of home owners was found to be £40,500, £30,100 for private renters, and £17,600 for social renters.
However, private tenants are spending the most. They were found to be spending an average of £164 per week on rent, while social tenants paid £83. Owner occupiers typically spent £141 on mortgage payments.
Duncan Stott, from the campaign group Priced Out, said, “These figures underline the consequences of a housing market that only the richest first-time buyers can afford.
“If today’s young families are to have the same opportunity to become homeowners that our parents’ generation had, we need to see house prices move back to a more affordable level.”
Tenancy deposit protection was also covered by the report. It says that 70% of private tenants had 100% of their deposit returned to them. 17% received part of their deposit back, and 13% lost it entirely. Just over one-quarter of tenants (26%) were said to have not known if their deposit had been protected in the first place.
Despite the growing number of people moving into the private rented sector, it would appear that the aspiration to own a home is still high. The report says that 59% of private tenants aim to some day buy their own home. Despite what the majority may want, more households were found to have moved into the private rented sector (150,000) than moved from the private rented sector into owner-occupation (116,000).
Also of interest in the report was the responses from private tenants regarding why their tenancies had ended. In 81% of cases, it was because the tenant wanted to move. 10% of tenancies were ended in mutual agreement, and 9% of households were asked to leave by their landlord or agent.
Of the 9% who were asked to leave by their landlord or agent, 55% said it was because the landlord or agent wanted to sell the property or use it for themselves, while 45% said it was for other reasons, such as non-payment of rent, or trouble with paying the rent via Local Housing Allowance.
These statistics put a dampener on Shelter’s demands for 5-year tenancies, and also dents their claims that tenancies are volatile due to landlords demanding tenants leave.
Countrywide revealed the findings of its own survey today, which show that there has been a rise in the number of older tenants, and a decline in the number of younger tenants.
According to their report, there has been a 6% annual rise in the number of private tenants aged 50+, while there has been a 7% fall in the number of tenants aged under 25. Countrywide attributes this “unexpected” decline to the cost of renting driving younger people back into the family home.
Their report says that 29% of all tenants in England, Scotland and Wales are aged 41 and over.
Based upon the 50,000 rental properties in their own portfolio, they say average rents have increased 1.2% year on year, and that tenants are staying in their properties for an average of 19 months.
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