The rise of the private renters

On Wednesday I returned to the theme of how private renters get short shrift in British politics. You can fight through a bulging email folder of press releases from politicians wanting to make mortgages easier, cheaper, safer and more numerous before you find one that talks about tackling any of the issues private renters face.

This continuing neglect of them is despite the continuing increase in their numbers, as new figures for the UK published this week show:

Housing tenure graph

It is notable that the rising trend of private renting and declining numbers of those with a mortgage pre-date the financial crash. In fact, the crash has not caused much of a blip in the trends. That in part reflects the political policy reaction to the financial crash which, influenced by memories of the huge rise in repossessions during the major early 1990s recession, put a particular emphasis on avoiding a repeat.

The rise in private renting has been particularly sharp amongst young people:

This longer-term picture means you do not have to be that young a politician to be able to envisage fighting future elections in a country where private renting is not that much less common than having a mortgage. That makes for a very different set of sensible priorities from those many current politicians instinctively have.

Data from the Family Resources Survey for 2010/11, which is the latest one out this week, and reused under the Open Government Licence.


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