Almost one in six homes is now a private rental property, as both social housing and home ownership declines. The English Housing Survey from Communities and local Government shows that the number of households renting privately has increased by one million in the last five years. In 2005-6, there were 2.4 million private rental households, which rose to 3.4 million in 2009-10.
The private rented sector now accounts for 15.6% of all households in England, up from 14.2% in 2008-9 and 11.7% in 2005-6. Capital Economics estimates that the private rented sector will be home to nearly one in five households by 2015.
Commenting on the survey, Grenville Turner, chief executive of Countrywide, the UK’s largest chain of estate agents, said:
“The UK has traditionally been a nation of home owners, and whilst millions still aspire to buy their own property, current market conditions make that more challenging than usual. Our agents saw a 17% increase in new buyer inquiries during 2010, but market transaction levels remained flat”.
“Successive governments have widely encouraged home ownership, but the impact of the recession has led to a structural change in the market, with record levels of tenant demand. As the UK’s largest letting agent, we have seen a 37% increase in new tenant applications during 2010 with 4.5 tenants vying for every available property. We are now beginning to see a shift in attitude, as a whole new generation is growing up choosing to rent long term, and the average age of a first-time buyer has risen to 37.”