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Survey finds fall in under-44s owning homes

Words: Laura Edgar
Increase in private renting for under 44s / iStock-621604344

The rate of owner occupation has remained the same for the fourth year in a row, but the drop in the proportion of owners under the age of 44 has been ‘particularly pronounced’, according to the government’s latest English Housing Survey.

There are an estimated 23.1 million households in England – 14.4 million (63 per cent) of which are owner occupied.

While the rate of owner occupation increased from the 1980s to 2003, when it peaked at 71 per cent, the rate has not changed since 2013/14.

In 2016-17, 34 per cent of household were outright owners, while 28 per cent were mortgagors. According to the survey, since 2013/14 there have been more outright owners than mortgagors, with the proportion of mortgagors declining from 31 per cent to 28 per cent in 2016/17.

The report attributes the increase in outright owners to an ageing population – large numbers of baby boomers have reached retirement age and paid off their mortgages.

There was a decrease in the number of 35-44 year olds who owned, down from 72 per cent in 2006/07 to 52 per cent. In this age group, the proportion of those in the private rented sector increased from 11 per cent to 29 per cent.

In 2006/07, 27 per cent of those aged 25-34 lived in the private rented sector. This increased to 46 per cent in 2016/17. Over the same period, the number of 25-34 year olds that owned decreased by 20 per cent to 37 per cent.

The private rented sector totalled 4.7 million households in 2016/17, accounting for 20 per cent of households. There are 3.9 million (17 per cent) households in the social rented sector.

In London, 30 per cent of households are in the private rented sector, 25 per cent own outright, 22 per cent own with a mortgage and 22 per cent rent in the social rented sector.

For the rest of the country, 36 per cent own outright, 30 per cent own with a mortgage, 19 per cent are in the private rented sector and 16 per cent are in the social sector. 

Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: “With the number of renters having risen substantially over the past decade, it’s time to start paying attention to the needs of people who rent long term, not just those who have a chance to own.

“It would be a mistake to focus on home ownership for the minority at the expense of families left to suffer expensive and insecure private renting.

“To give renters a better deal, the government must make good on its promise to massively increase the number of affordable homes available for ordinary families to rent.”

The English Housing Survey: Headline Report, 2016-17 can be found on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government website.

Image credit | iStock