Lowest number of homeowners since 1987, government reports
Home ownership, according to government figures, has fallen to its lowest level since 1987.
The number of homeowners in the UK accounts for 14.39 million, but the 65.3% overall level of those who own their properties is the lowest proportion recorded since Margaret Thatcher’s “right to buy campaign”.
At the time council tenants got a discount for buying their own homes. After that campaign, the level of home ownership rose from 56.6% to 67%, but peaked in 2003 when home ownership reached 70.9%.
The English Housing Survey published yesterday by the Department for Communities and Local Government showed also that for the first time since the 1960s, an increasing number of households are renting privately instead of living in social housing.
However, an increased proportion of households rented privately are also classed as “overcrowded”; that is to say without a sufficient number of bedrooms to avoid some family members sharing.
Three fifths of private renters said they will consider buying a property in the future, but 45% of them thought it would happen in over five years’ time.
After the introduction of the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme last August, there have been improvements to the mortgage market.
As the Bank of England reported, there have been uplifts in mortgage approvals to home buyers. However, compared to mid-2000s, first time buyers need to find a deposit of 20% instead of 10%, which would have been required less than 10 years ago.
The chief executive of homeless support charity Shelter, Campbell Robb, said the figures were “bad news for anyone struggling to find a decent and affordable home”. He added: “Today’s figures take the growth of ‘generation rent’ to a whole new level.”
Shelter has recently produced a report which argued that the private rental sector has outgrown its role in primarily providing accommodation for students and young professionals.
According to their figures, families have become stuck in the “rent trap” as rents have soared due to increased demand for the past two years. The current situation leaves tenants with little cash to save for a mortgage deposit.