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What the annual English housing survey tells us about the housing market in Britain

Posted by Matt Munns on June 7, 2017
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What is the English Housing Survey?

The English housing survey is a paper released every year by the UK Government (more specifically, the Department for Communities and Local Government) and is the best way to understand what has happened to the housing market in the last year, and how it will change in months to come. Data is collected about people’s housing circumstances. This year was no different.

Owner occupation hasn’t changed for 3 years

There are roughly 22 million households in the UK, around 63% of which are owner-occupied. The rate of owner-occupation rose steadily in the UK until 2003, and has declined since then, but remained unchanged since 2013-14. However, this could change for next year as Help to Buy continues and schemes in the Housing White Paper begin.

More people own their homes outright

Due to an ageing population, mortgagors have dropped and outright home ownership is up to 34%. This means over half home-owners in England own their homes without a mortgage, and if the ‘bubble’ bursts, then they won’t need to sell their homes, and repossessions are seriously low. In the run-up to the general election, all parties are focused on the housing crisis – yet for some, there isn’t even a crisis. Home ownership looks at an extremely stable level.

There are stark differences between Renting and Owning with under-occupied households

Under or Over Occupation is decided by how many people live at a particular property and if that number is larger or smaller than required by the property’s size. Essentially, a couple living in a 5-bedroom house are under-occupying, a seven-strong family living in a 2-bedroom house are over occupying. the number of under occupied households is up, again due to an aging population – they also struggle to downsize due to stamp duty. Renters on the other hand have decreased their under occupation in both private and social sectors. The reason? It could be the ‘bedroom tax’ influencing social renters out to downsize to smaller properties.

Private rents still make up more of the market than social rents

In 2015-16 the private rented sector made up 20% of English households, while 17% was social rent. These figures are not surprising – combine Buy to Let and a shortage of social housing and you’ll get more people willing to rent from a private landlord than willing to be homeless on a waiting list for social housing.

Half of all renters in the UK are under 35

As house pricing surges, the affordability of young people to jump onto the housing ladder is lessening – although government backed schemes like Help to Buy and the new Lifetime ISA have been designed due to this statistic. This number of young renters is a fairly new trend, but young people are looking for more mobility and freedom in terms of moving than they were 20 years ago. Telecommuting, working from home and short employment stints are at play here, too.

Make sense of it all with our help

At iLet, we’re not just about finding you the best places to rent in Northampton – we’re also here to bust jargon and help you understand the whole letting and renting process in a simple way. Call us today to see how we can help you.

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