Fewer homes owner-occupied in England

| March 27, 2007
Fewer homes owner-occupied in England

Home ownership might not be as popular in England as it once was. There were 14.62 million owner-occupied homes in England last year, out of 20.8 million households in all, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government. That is 1.8 million more homeowners than there were in 1997, but 25,000 fewer than in 2005. It was the first time the number of owner-occupied houses fell in England since records began to be kept in 1939.

Affordability is the main culprit in the decline, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Last year, 94,000 less homes were being purchased with a mortgage, a decline that was partially offset by 71,000 more homes that were bought outright. The CML claims that it is the rise in house prices, not the popularity of owning a home, that has caused the decline.

While the absolute numbers of owner-occupied houses fell last year, the percentage has remained at around 71 percent of households since it reached that level in 2000. That was a rise from just 32 percent of homes occupied by the owner in 1953. In that year, 50 percent of households were occupied by those renting from a private landlord. The popularity of renting dropped, however, during the 1960s and 1970s, but began to make a comeback in the mid-1990s. In the past decade the number of households occupied by private renters has increased from 10 per cent to 12 percent.


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