Private renting up for the first time in a century

New figures from the ONS today confirm that private renting is on the increase:

Over the last century, the structure of home ownership in England and Wales has changed. Policies and economic developments have transformed the tenure structure over the century from a largely renting to an owner occupier population. The last decade however has seen the first rise in the percentage of households renting, since 1918…

The percentage of households renting increased in all English regions and in Wales in the decade to 2011. London had the highest percentage of renters, accounting for 50.4% of households in the region.

It reinforces a point I’ve made previously about the curious neglect of private renters in political discourse:

People who rent in the private sector get short shrift in British politics. Renting is rarely talked about and when it is, it is almost always in the context of it being seen as inferior to owner-occupation. It is as if a private renter is simply someone who has not been successful or lucky enough to become an owner-occupier…

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 renters face.

Further details are on the ONS site, from which I’ve also taken this infographic:

ONS: trends in property infographic

One response to “Private renting up for the first time in a century”

  1. I think about this quite a bit. Two prompts for this are friends who claim they can’t afford to buy somewhere (usually they prefer to rent in a central area and could buy somewhere further out) and landlord friends who tell me that they have the same tenants for years. My worry is that in 30 or 40 years time we will have a substantial group of people with neither their own homes nor a decent pension – a recipe for big social problems (or a massive increase in the already huge housing benefit budget at least, undermining current policy to get pensioners off means-tested benefits)

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