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Official statistics reveal home ownership decline

Words: Huw Morris
home ownership declines

Home ownership in England and Wales has fallen for the first time in a century, according to government figures.

Latest research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that 64 per cent or 15 million households in England and Wales were owner occupied in 2011, a drop of 5 per cent a decade earlier.

Private rentals rose from 12 per cent to 18 per cent of the housing market in the same period. Social rentals dropped slightly from 19 per cent to 18 per cent.

National Housing Federation head of media, campaigns and digital Anna Brosnan commented: "Unfortunately, home ownership is becoming the preserve of the few. Year-on-year failure to build the homes this nation needs has pushed prices beyond the means of ordinary people. At the moment people who can’t buy a home have little choice but to rent privately going from one short-term let to another at an ever-escalating cost." She added that housing associations want to build 120,000 new homes of all types every year and the government could help by freeing up land and providing proper investment.

The ONS also showed one in 20 households were overcrowded, equivalent to 1.1 million. More than two-thirds of all overcrowded households were rented. The greatest extent of overcrowding was in London – affecting one in 10 households. This was more than twice the level seen in the West Midlands, the region with the second highest degrees of overcrowding. The ONS said high housing costs are the main driver of overcrowding in London compared with the rest of England and Wales. The London Borough of Newham has the highest percentage of overcrowded households – 25.2 per cent of households.