Changing trends in the UK housing market

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) issues an array of very useful information showing trends in the UK housing market. If you are looking to build up a property portfolio in the future then these statistics could be priceless. So, what are the trends in the UK housing market which you should be aware of?

UK household trends

Before we take a look at some of the specific trends in the marketplace it is worth noting that the number of families in the UK has increased by 8% since 2008. There are now 19.1 million families in the UK compared to 17.7 back in 2008. In terms of the number of households in the UK, figures for 2018 show 27.6 million which is an increase of 6.6% since 2008 and 1.3% since 2017. It is also worth noting that 2008 was the top of the housing market prior to the US mortgage crisis.

Number of people living alone

Official statistics from the ONS show the number of people now living alone has passed 8 million for the first time in the UK – 15% of the UK adult population. This will surprise many people as some statistics show that more families, different generations, are now living in the same household to save on costs. There are numerous trends within various subsectors which show:-

• A 66% increase in those living alone aged between 45 and 64 (more women than men)
• A rise in the number of divorce/single never married people now living alone
• That male life expectancy is now catching up with female life expectancy
• An increase in the number of men aged between 65 and 74 now living alone (up 55.6% over the last decade)

The only two age groups to show a fall in the number living alone are 16 to 24 and 25 to 44. This appears to fall in with the emerging trend of families living together for longer in the same household.

Living with parents

As we saw a reduction in the number of people up to 44 years of age living alone, so there is an increase in the number living with their parents. A staggering one in four people aged between 20 and 34 now live with their parents according to 2018 data. This is an increase of 24% over the last decade although the trend has been more gradual since 2013 – maybe an immediate hangover from the 2008 economic crisis?

The statistics for those aged between 20 and 34 living with their parents, between 1996 and 2018, are as follows:-

• Overall increase from 2.7 million up to 3.4 million
• Men living with their parents increased from 1.7 million up to 2.1 million
• Women living with their parents increased from 1 million up to 1.3 million

So, while the largest percentage increase over the last decade was amongst women, the largest increase in numbers was amongst the male population. As the cost of living continues to grow, as do house prices, it is difficult to see how this trend will not continue.


There is no doubt that very strong trends are emerging amongst specific age groups with regards to those living alone and those living with parents in the UK. When looking to invest in existing property, newbuilds and off-plan developments, this should give you an interesting insight. It is safe to say the main challenge is the cost of homes in the UK, especially for first-time buyers. Will the UK finally start to accept alternative ideas such as modular homes?


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