The majority of the data is stuff we already knew and actually only confirms previous trends.

  1. The big change for 24-35 year olds when it comes to Owner Occupation vs Private Rented Sector in last 10 years
    1. Owner occupation - 2006: 53%  2016: 35%
    2. Private rented sector – 2006: 24%  2016: 46%
  2. Big increase in families with children in Private Rented Sector in last 10 years – 945,000 additional households
  3. Rents have steadied across England (both in and out of London) in last 12 months but remain historically high

We have serious systemic problems, especially for renters in the private sector, and for younger people.

Government has spoken before about a reversal in the trend last year that has seen fewer people own their own homes – number is steady but % is down again this year.

While those at the ‘top end’ of the market continue to strengthen their already solid position (14.3million are owner-occupiers, of which 34% outright own their home, of which 61% are over the age of 65) there seems little hope for a good chunk of those entering the housing market as private renters to ever get to a position where they will own their own home.

Other things to talk about:

  1. 25% of social renters are either in arrears or have been in arrears in last 12 months – 685,000 households

One of the stand out new things though is that in the last 12 months a quarter of all social renters, some 685,000 households, either are in arrears or have been in arrears. This is extremely worrying and fits in with concerns raised by us, and others, that the changes to the benefits system are having real life impacts.

  1. 45% of those in social rent are in the lowest quintile in terms of gross household income and so are most likely to be hit by the cap on benefits, and the implementation of Universal Credit which has been phased in around the country.
  2. Huge amount of under-occupation – c 8.5 million households

Fits in to narrative around how we accommodate older people. Some estimates also suggest that there are as many as 7.7 million spare rooms in houses occupied by those aged 65 or older (see Jules Birch in Inside Housing[1])

  1. Disposable income disparity between owners and renters

Those who own their own property are spending 18% of their income on mortgages, while those renting privately are spending almost twice as much at 35%. Even those in the social rented sector are spending on average 28%.


Headline Data Summary


  • 8 million households in England (does not include nursing homes/halls of residence etc)
  • 3million/63% are owner-occupiers
  • 2003 was peak at 71%, gradual decline to current levels which have not changed since 2013-14
  • Outright ownership has increased in that period to 34%, while 29% are mortgagers – ‘at least partly explained by population ageing, with large numbers of baby boomers reaching retirement age, paying off their mortgages and moving into outright ownership’
  • London 49%, rest of England 65%
  • Age – heavily weighted to older and middle demographics – 61% of outright owners over 65; 62% with mortgage aged 35-54
  • 53% of all 25-34 year olds in 2006 has decreased to 35%

Private rented sector (PRS)

  • 20% of all households – 4.5million – doubled in size since 2002
  • Families in PRS has increased from 30-36% in 10 years = 945,000 more households with children in PRS
  • No change in expectations to own property in past 12 months
  • 35% of income goes on rent in PRS
  • 5% of properties are overcrowded
  • Age – 67% under 45
  • 24% of all 25-34 year olds in 2006 has increased now to 46%

Social rented sector (SRS)

  • 17% of all households – 3.9million – half the size of 1981
  • Families in SRS has decreased from 36-32% in 10 years = 123,000 fewer households with children in SRS
  • Greater expectation to own property in past 12 months – up from 24% to 27%
  • 28% of income goes on rent in SRS
  • 6% of properties are overcrowded
  • Age – very close to demographics of population as a whole – even split across age ranges



£300/week average in London                                 no significant change to these rates in last 12 months

£153/week average outside of London


£129/week average in London                  

£95/week average in London

Rents remain high but have plateaued in last 12 months compared with previous years – since 2008 average weekly rent in London has increased by c £75/week, outside £25/week

Economic/employment status of different groups


Owner occupier









Full-time work





Part-time work






Affordability – i.e. average % of household income spent on housing

Mortgagor: 18

PRS: 35

SRS: 28

25% (685,000) of social renters in arrears/had been in last 12 months, 9% (376,000) of PRS

Under-occupation and overcrowding

  • Overcrowding exists in relatively small proportions – i.e. <5%
  • Under-occupation is very high however with 8.5 million households (37%) living in under-occupied homes – since 1995 has risen from 6.2million households (31%)
    • 52% of owner occupied households
    • 14% of PRS
    • 10% of social rented

[1] No breakdown available of full to part-time workers in owner occupied data – 34% total