2 4m more people now renting vs a decade ago

2.4m more people now renting vs a decade ago

The proportion of the population relying on the rental market in England has grown by as much as 5% in the last decade, according to the latest research by (BtR) specialists,Ascend Properties.

Ascend Properties analysed government data on dwellings stock across England looking at what percentage of the population are residing within the rental sector compared to the housing market, and how this has changed in the last 10 years. 

Current market make up 

As a nation, we’re obsessed with bricks and mortar and so it’s no surprise that homeowners account for by far the largest proportion of the market. The latest data shows that owner occupied properties make up 63.9% of the current market, with private rentals accounting for 19.4% and properties rented through housing associations or local authorities accounting for 16.7% of the market. 

However, this reliance on rental homes is higher in London where 21.9% of the population live in rented accommodation. Yorkshire and the Humber (19.7%) and the East Midlands (18.8%) also home to some of the largest rental markets in England. 

10 year change

Although we remain a nation of homeowners there are signs that this obsession is starting to wane. Ascend’s research shows that across England, the number of people residing within the rental sector has increased by 3%, from 16.4% a decade ago, to 19.4% today. 

While that might not sound like a lot, an increase of 1.022m dwellings with an average of 2.3 people to a dwelling means there are now an estimated 2,360,495 more people living in the rental sector

The North West (+3.8%), Yorkshire and the Humber (+3.6%) and West Midlands (+3%) have also seen some of the largest rental market increases in the last decade.

The South East has seen the smallest increase in the proportion of people renting, but even still, the region has seen an increase of 0.7%, while the level of homeowners has dropped -0.6%. 

Managing Director of Ascend Properties, Ged McPartlin, commented: 

There’s no doubt that we are seeing a shift towards a preference to rent, if not indefinitely, then certainly until a later stage of life. This is being driven by issues surrounding housing affordability, with property values continuing to climb at a far higher rate than available earnings, which is causing aspirational homeowners to save for longer in order to get a foot on the ladder.

However, we’re also seeing a societal change in terms of our attitudes towards renting and the freedom and flexibility it provides. You need only look at the phenomenal growth of the build to rent sector in recent years which has been driven by the sheer demand for rental properties designed specifically for purpose. Repurposed housing stock is largely inadequate for the modern resident and doesn’t fully meet their needs with regard to space, living standards or the additional aspects that a build to rent property can provide, such as social areas and onsite amenities and community spirit.

As the build to rent sector continues to grow in size, it will become increasingly more likely that residents will opt to remain in the rental sector and we expect to see this increasing rental market share seen over the last decade continue to gather serious pace in the future.

Data sourced from Gov.uk - Live tables on dwellings stock

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