The latest English Housing Survey by the Ministry of Housing and Communities and Local Government has been released detailing the circumstances, condition and energy efficiency of housing in England.

The report provides a look at the tenure of the nation’s homeowners and renters and highlights what percentage of people are owner-occupiers (own and live in their property), private renters (paying to rent from a landlord) or social renters (those that need a hand in getting a roof over their head).

Owner Occupation

The report shows that largely, owner occupation has remained unchanged for the fourth year in a row, with 63% of an estimated 23.1million households owned and lived in by the same person. This figure had increased steadily between the 80s and early 00s to a peak of 71%, but has since fallen but remained stable through a tough few years for UK property.

A steady level of owner occupation rates since 2013 suggests a certain degree of stability across the UK market, despite the number of tough obstacles it has faced in the last four years.

Russell Quirk

Founder and CEO ,

Change in Mortgage to Outright Ownership

The latest data shows that 34% of households are now outright owned by the homeowner while 28% of owners did so with the aid of a mortgage. This trend has been observed since 2013 with the proportion of mortgagers declining by 31% since then.

This has largely been attributed to the fact that the nation’s home-owning population is growing in age and with a large number of “baby boomers” now reaching retirement, they have been able to pay off their mortgage and move into the category of owning their home outright.

At the same time, a lack of affordable housing stock and the financial barrier of a mortgage deposit with already inflated property prices has seen mortgagors decline as many remain resigned to the rental market.

Fall in 25-44 Year Olds as Owner Occupiers

While levels of owner occupancy have remained stable the level of those owning and occupying a home between 25-44-year-olds has fallen notably.

Since 2006-07 the number of 35-44-year-olds has fallen by 20%, with just 52% now owning their home. While this age group is the most likely to own their home, there has also been an increase in those having to turn to the private rental sector within this age group.

Those aged 25-34 are predictably more likely to lie within the private rental sector, however, the latest survey found that the number of first-time buyers in private rentals has been more pronounced than usual. In 2006-07 27% of those in this age bracket lived in private rentals, but this has now increased to almost half (46%).

In contrast, the number of 25-34 year olds classed as owner occupiers has fallen 20% to just 37%. Further evidence that today’s aspirational buyers are stuck in the generation rent cycle.


In London, the high price of property means that private rentals are the largest tenure at 30%, despite changes to the Buy-to-Let laws and the region seeing the worst price growth of all UK regions.


Despite many promises from the UK Government to build more housing at an affordable price for first-time buyers, the rate of overcrowding has remained static. There has been an increase in the private rental sector with 5% of households now home to more people than they can handle. This drops to just 1% of homes that are owner occupied.

The drastic drop in occupancy rates for those aged between 25-44 and the decline of those on the ladder with a mortgage compared to an ageing population now owning their property outright, demonstrates the tough task facing aspirational homebuyers and highlights the Government’s failure in helping them.

With interest rates still extremely low, the cost of a mortgage continues to remain manageable for many, but as these figures show, it isn’t the cost of repaying the mortgage that is the issue, it’s the high barrier to securing it in the first place, coupled with a severe lack of suitable properties for first-time buyers.

This is most prevalent in the capital, where changes to buy-to-let laws have failed to level the playing field and private rentals still account for the largest proportion of all tenures.  As a result, many are resigned to a sector that is overcrowded and over expensive and the Government’s lack of address means that they will no doubt be stuck renting for quite some time to come.

Russell Quirk

Founder and CEO ,

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