Decline in home ownership grinds to a halt

The decline in home ownership seen for the last decade in England has ground to a halt, official figures show.

But the number of households who own their home with the help of a mortgage has continued to slip back, while the number owning their home outright has increased, according to the English Housing Survey's data.

And nearly one million more families with dependent children are living in the private rented sector in England than a decade earlier.

In 2014-15, 63.6% - or 14.3 million - households in England were owner occupiers, slightly up from 63.3% the previous year.

Until then, the proportion of home owners had been on a downward path generally since reaching a peak of 70.9% in 2003.

Meanwhile, 19% of households - or 4.3 million - rented privately and 17.4% of households - or 3.9 million - rented socially in 2014-15.

The report said the recent decline in home ownership "seems to have abated".

The number of households who own their home outright with no mortgage overtook the number of home-owners who have a loan in 2013-14.

This trend continued in 2014-15. Of the 14.3 million home-owning households, 7.5 million owned their home outright with no mortgage in 2014-15, while 6.8 million had a mortgage.

The number of households with a mortgage was down on 2013-14, when it stood at 6.9 million, while the number of home-owning households who were mortgage-free increased from 7.4 million in 2013-14.

In 2014-15, the average age of first time buyers was 33 years old, up from 31 a decade earlier. The average first-time buyer needed a deposit of £42,505.

There has also been a big upswing in the proportion of families with children living in the private rented sector over the last decade, with around 1.6 million families now renting privately in England - accounting for more than one in three (37%) privately renting households.

In 2004-5, just 30% of households in the private rented sector were families with dependent children. The increase means there are now around 912,000 more households with children in the private rented sector than a decade earlier.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "These figures are a stark reminder that for millions of families and young people it's becoming utterly impossible to create a stable future in a place they can really call home.

"Instead of being able to put down roots, more and more people are stuck spending vast amounts of their income on rent."

In a continuation of a trend seen from 2012-13, younger households aged 25 to 34 years old are still more likely to be renting than buying their own home, the report said.

The proportion of private renters who expect to get on the property ladder has also fallen. In 2014-15, 57% of private renters said they expect to buy a home at some point, down from 61% a year earlier.

In 2014-15, the average rent in the private sector in England was £179 per week, which was unchanged from a year earlier. The average rent in London increased by £17 per week from a year earlier, to reach £298 per week.

Matt Whittaker, chief economist at think-tank the Resolution Foundation, said: "While there is now political consensus around the strong need to support greater home ownership, it's important that households on modest incomes, particularly those with children, don't miss out on the action.

"And with renting set to play a bigger role going forward, there is also a need for a new focus on steps to improve security and stability for those who may never make it onto the housing ladder."

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said more than 270,000 families were helped into home ownership through Government-backed schemes since 2010.

He continued: "We've set out the boldest ambition for housing in a generation, doubling the budget so we can help a million more people into home ownership, while delivering a bigger, and better private rental sector."

The most viewed properties
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Decline in home ownership grinds to a halt

In Zoopla's list of the most viewed properties in recent weeks, this whopper comes in at number 9.

The £2 million property in Doncaster has planning permission to be turned into a hotel or wedding venue, and has been seen a whopping 14,000 times in a month.

This two-bedroom flat in Canary Wharf is on the market for £675,000. The attractions of imagining your life in a warehouse conversion with plenty of space and light means that 16,000 people have looked at it in a month.

This new five-bed property in South Oxfordshire is an excellent example of how much prices have risen in that part of the country - with an asking price of £1.195 million.

Clearly the attractions of being near Reading (without actually being in Reading) are driving enormous demand - with 37,000 views in a month

This five-bedroom detached house in Skelmersdale is on the market for offers over £210,000. The fact that such a normal-looking family house has been seen by 45,000 people in a month owes something to the fact that the owners built it themselves - to a particularly high spec - and as a result it is pricey for the area.

This four-bed detached house doesn't look particularly striking from the front, so it must be hard to see why it's worth £299,950 - an impressive sum for the area. This goes some way to explaining its 69,000 views in a month.

All is revealed round the back, however, as the property opens up in acres of glass to reveal spacious open-plan living.

This newly built seven-bedroom detached house has enough attractions to justify the £3.25 million price tag (not least the underground car showroom with space for 30 cars). The 73,000 views may also have something to do with the elegant writing style of the estate agent.

Phrases used in the listing include: "This must be the jewel in the crown for Royal Sutton Coldfield gentry." And: "The rear garden is enchanting."

On the outside it's a bog standard terrace in Bootle, Merseyside. But on the inside its a dramatically refurbished property with statement lighting aplenty.

It's no wonder this £85,000 property had 80,000 views in a month - and is the third most-viewed home.

A two-bedroom flat in the former home of Arsenal Football cub is on the market for £660,000. Clearly die hard fans have been captivated by the idea of living in this iconic building - complete with a grass courtyard with plenty of room for a kick-about. It has been viewed an impressive 95,000 times, making it the second most viewed property.

But the most viewed home in the country is the six-bedroom Lindisfarne Farm in County Durham - on the market for just £175,000.

An incredible 475,000 people have seen it in the past month, drawn by the enormous rooms, the incredible views, and the idea of being able to live a simple life, away from it all, for just £175,000.


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