English home ownership rises for first time in a decade – but so does the number of private renters who believe they’ll never be able to buy


English home ownership rises for first time in a decade – but so does the number of private renters who believe they’ll never be able to buy


The number of households that own their own home has risen slightly, halting a decline that has lasted for a whole decade, official new figures reveal.

Of an estimated 22.5million households in England, 63.6 per cent are owner-occupied, 5,000 more than owned their home a year ago, the latest annual English Housing Survey from the Department for Communities and Local Government shows.

At the same time the number renting privately fell – albeit slightly for the first time in 17 years.

But despite the increase in home ownership, there has been a considerable drop in the number of private renters who believe they will be able to step on to the housing ladder at any point in the future, the figures show.

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What’s more, those who do buy are older than in the past, and are finding even larger deposits.

In 2014/15, of the number who currently rent from landlords, 57 per cent believe they will be able to buy a property at some point.

This is a decline from 61 per cent the previous year and comes as house prices continue to rise. The data shows a typical deposit of £42,505 is now needed to buy a home.

Of those who do believe they will be able to buy, 43 per cent think it will take them at least five years or more to achieve it.

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Lucian Cook, head of Savills UK residential research, said: ‘The short term trends shown in the latest English Housing Survey need to be treated with caution, given the reported fall in private renting in 2014-15 follows a particularly large increase in the preceding year.
‘Nonetheless it is a good indicator of longer term trends, such as the widening generational divide of the housing market.
‘Behind the short term volatility, levels of private renting among under 35s are still up by over 1million in the past decade.
‘Yet in contrast, the number of owner occupiers over the age of 65 who own their own home outright rose by over 900,000.’

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The English Housing Survey also goes into detail about the size of homes, energy efficiency and even takes a look at how many people live with mould problems in their home.

According to the data, the average usable floor area of dwellings in 2014 was 94m2. Social sector homes are the smallest, typically 67m2, while privately rented homes are on average 77m2.

This compares to 106m2 for owner-occupied homes.

Only 11 per cent of dwellings in the social rented sector had a usable floor area of 90m2 or over, in contrast with 22 per cent of homes in the private rented sector and 52 per cent of owner-occupied homes.

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The problem of mould has fallen in recent years. In 2014, about a million homes – or four per cent – had issues with damp, compared with 2.6million – or 13 per cent – of homes in 1996.

The energy efficiency of the English housing stock has continued to improve. In 2014/15, the average energy efficient rating was up to 61 points, from 45 points in 1996.

The proportion of dwellings in the highest energy efficiency rating bands A to C has increased considerably between 2004 and 2014, from four per cent to 26 per cent, thanks largely to improved insulation.

At the same time, the proportion of dwellings in the lowest F and G bands fell from 20 per cent to six per cent between 2004 and 2014. Three quarters of homes are in categories C to D.

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