Fewer people buying their own property to live in in the UK, latest data shows UK house data report

Declining owners means more renters in the UK

The proportion of households choosing to be owner occupiers is continuing to decline in the UK but there has been an increase in the proportion of private renters expecting to purchase a property over the medium term, according to a new report.

The Communities and Local Government English Housing Survey Headline Report shows that the number of owner occupied households fell from a peak of 14.8 million in 2005 and 2006 to 14.6 million in 2008/09.

Couples with no dependent children were the most common type of household at 36% and the most common type of owner occupiers, 42% in 2008/09. Over half, 59 %, of all private renters expected to eventually buy a home in the UK compared to only around a quarter, 27% of social renters.

Overcrowding was highest in the rented sectors at 6.7% of social rented households and 5.4% of private rented households were overcrowded as measured by the bedroom standard. In contrast, only 1.6% of owner occupiers were overcrowded.

Social sector properties were on average more energy efficient than those in the private sector and also saw greatest improvement since 1996 with their average SAP rating increasing from 47 to 59.

Some 89% of homes had central heating in 2008, and 3.7 million, 17%, had condensing boilers, a more than threefold increase since 2005 when regulations were first introduced.

Some 7.4 million homes, 33%, were non-decent in 2008, including 4.8 million homes with potentially serious hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. Overall social sector homes were in a better condition than private sector homes with 27% being non-decent compared to 34%.

‘The latest survey provides further evidence that the proportion of households choosing to be owner occupiers is continuing to decline. The peak year for owner occupation was actually back in 2003. Since then, private renting has become an increasingly important tenure with the buy to let boom significantly increasing the supply of this type of accommodation,’ said Simon Rubinsohn, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors chief economist.

‘Interestingly while the proportion of private renters looking to buy over the next couple of years has declined according to the report, this is not indicative of a diminishing desire to own property; there has been an increase in the proportion of private renters expecting to purchase a house over the medium term,’ he commented.

‘However, unless housing supply increases substantially over the next few years, the likelihood is that many of those aspiring to buy a home will continue to find such a move out of their reach. Data released last week showed new housing starts to remain at historically low levels, suggesting that the imbalance between demand and supply is likely to remain a feature of the market in many parts of the country for some time to come.

‘Even if there is some easing in prices later this year as mortgage costs begin to rise, it is unlikely that this process will continue unless the economy were to lurch back into recession, which is not expected,’ he added.

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