Analysis and action on living standards
16 January 2019
Housing tenure in the UK has changed dramatically over time. In the decades following WW2, large numbers of homes were built, and many were rented out by local authorities. With higher incomes and easier access to mortgages, home ownership rose. This continued with Right to Buy – the large scale sell-off of social rented properties to their occupants. The private rented sector shrank to historic lows by 1989 due to these trends and tight regulation. Due to low levels of housebuilding, rising house prices, a resurgence of the private rented sector and a lack of social housing, home ownership peaked in the early 2000s. The financial crisis led to a further decline in mortgage availability, but overall ownership levels have been rising in recent years.
All these trends and more are shown in this chart, which is the timeliest source of UK housing tenure data. The figures give the proportion of families in each kind of housing situation, where a ‘family’ may be a single person or a couple, along with any dependent children.
Download the data.
Different parts of the UK have quite different tenure make-ups. But many trends are shared nationwide, with home ownership having fallen in all regions. Check out your part of the UK by clicking on the map or the dropdown menus.
Focusing on the proportion of families that own their own home, you can see how home ownership rates vary by age as well as over time and by region. For the 25-34 age group nationwide, home ownership rates have been increasing over the past two years but they are still a very long way shy of their 1980s peak. Whether this trend will continue or tail off remains to be seen, but we do know that the fundamentals of the housing market are still unfavourable for younger potential buyers – unless that changes we wouldn’t expect a home ownership surge anytime soon. We’ll be following the trends in the months and years ahead closely.
Download the data.