Homeownership in the UK has been depleting in recent years with the government introducing measures to encourage more people onto the property ladder, including building more new homes – but Generation Rent won’t be going anywhere.
Official data released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government records that at the end of Q1 2017, the number of homes in England was up by 0.92% to 23.9 million homes compared with the end of March 2016, equating to an increase of 217,000.
The overall figure breaks down as 62.6% of homes being privately owned at a total of 15.1 million. This represents only a nominal increase as in 2016 and 2015 the figure was 62.4% compared with 2003 when the highest figures for homeownership ran at 69.5%.
At the end of March 2017, in the private rented sector 4.8 million properties were tenanted and a further four million were rented by local housing associations and councils.
Government driven to build more affordable homes
Dominic Raab, Housing Minister, said: “We welcome the small increase, the first since 2004, but we recognise a need to provide more homes. We are driven to do more and build the homes young families, key workers and those on lower or middle incomes can afford. This government is determined to restore the dream of homeownership for the next generation.”
A breakdown of the figures show that between March 2016 and March 2017, the number of owner occupied homes increased by 262,000 and private rented homes decreased by 46,000. Meanwhile, the social and affordable rented stock grew by 3,000 and other public sector stock fell by 1,000.
Empty homes account for 2.5% of housing stock
The figures also show that there were 605,891 vacant homes in England at the beginning of October 2017, an increase of 16,125 or 2.7% from 589,766 in October 2016. It means that empty homes now account for 2.5% of the housing stock.
The number of homes vacant for six months or longer also increased by 2.6% to 205,293 in October 2017, from 200,145 in October 2016. Long-term empty homes now make up 0.9% of the housing stock.
Fresh figures from the English Housing Survey
Latest figures on owner occupation from the English Housing Survey reveal that numbers have risen between 2014 and 2017 after a period of decline. At its peak, the percentage of owner occupiers stood at 69.5%, seeing a steady increase during the 1980s until 2002. This was followed by a decline until it levelled out to 62.4% in 2015-16. In 2017, a small upward trend was recorded at 62.9%.
Between 2016 and 2017, the number of private rented sector homes saw a slight fall, and now represent 20% of the total stock. This is after earlier successive year on year increases with the volume of social and affordable rented homes rising every year because of a boost in Private Registered Provider dwellings exceeding the fall in Local Authority stock.