2.4 million more Brits now renting homes compared with 10 years ago

Saleha Riaz
·3-min read
Housing affordability is one factor renting has increased in popularity. Photo: Getty Images
Housing affordability is one reason renting has increased in popularity. Photo: Getty Images

Homes that are occupied by their owners make up a majority of the England’s property market, but the number of people who rent has increased by 2.4 million in the last decade, new research has showed.

A report by Ascend Properties shows that the number of people renting has increased by 3%, from 16.4% in 2009 to 19.4% in 2019.

While that might not sound like a lot, an increase of 1.02 million dwellings with an average of 2.3 people to a dwelling means there are now an estimated 2,360,495 more people renting in the UK, Ascend said.

“Although we remain a nation of homeowners there are signs that this obsession is starting to wane,” the report noted.

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Managing director of Ascend Properties, Ged McPartlin, said this was due to “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.”

He added that there is also a change in attitudes towards renting “and the freedom and flexibility it provides.”

“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,” he said.

Chart: Ascend Properties
Chart: Ascend Properties

The 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%) are also home to some of the largest rental markets in England.

The South East has seen the smallest increase in the proportion of people renting (0.7%), while the level of homeowners has dropped 0.6%.

The data also showed that “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.”

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.

In December, a report found the desire to own a home among tenants in the UK’s private rented sector has fallen from the age of 35, along with the propensity to save towards a deposit as tenants get older.

And a report from October by The Resolution Foundation revealed that private and social renters were bearing the cost of redundancies during the coronavirus recession, warning that more are likely to fall behind with housing costs than people with a mortgage.

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