2.4m more people now renting vs a decade ago

Build to Rent specialist - Ascend Properties - reports that a further 2.4m people now rent compared to a decade ago.

Trafalgar Square and London Skyline from New Zealand House - renting - Ascend Properties | BTR News
Trafalgar Square and London Skyline from New Zealand House.

Ascend Properties reports that the proportion of the population relying on the rental market in England has grown by as much as 5% in the last decade. Government data was analysed on dwellings stock across England – and looked at what percentage of the population are renting compared to homeownership, and how this has changed over the last 10 years. 

Current market

The largest proportion of the market – at no surprise – are homeowners. The latest figures show they make up 63.9% of the current market, with private renting accounting for 19.4%, and properties rented through housing associations or local authorities accounting for 16.7%.

However, the reliance on rental homes is higher in London – where 21.9% of the population are renting. Yorkshire and the Humber (19.7%) and the East Midlands (18.8%) are also home to some of the largest rental markets in England. 

“There’s no doubt that we are seeing a shift towards a preference to rent, if not indefinitely, then certainly until a later stage of life. 

“This is being driven by issues surrounding housing affordability, with property values continuing to climb at a far higher rate than available earnings, which is causing aspirational homeowners to save for longer in order to get a foot on the ladder.”

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director, Ascend Properties

10-year change

Although we remain a nation of homeowners there are signs that this obsession is starting to wane. Ascend Properties research shows that across England, the number of people living in the rental sector has increased by 3% – from 16.4% a decade ago to 19.4% today. 

Although this may not sound like a lot, an increase of 1.022m dwellings with an average of 2.3 people to a dwelling means there are now an estimated 2,360,495 more people living in the rental sector.

The North West (+3.8%), Yorkshire and the Humber (+3.6%) and West Midlands (+3%) have also seen some of the largest rental market increases in the last decade.

The South East has seen the smallest rise in the proportion of people renting, but even still, the region has seen an increase of 0.7%, while the level of homeowners has dropped -0.6%. 

“We’re also seeing a societal change in terms of our attitudes towards renting and the freedom and flexibility it provides. You need only look at the phenomenal growth of the Build to Rent sector in recent years which has been driven by the sheer demand for rental properties designed specifically for purpose.

“Repurposed housing stock is largely inadequate for the modern resident and doesn’t fully meet their needs with regard to space, living standards or the additional aspects that a Build to Rent property can provide, such as social areas and onsite amenities and community spirit.

“As the Build to Rent sector continues to grow in size, it will become increasingly more likely that residents will opt to remain in the rental sector and we expect to see this increasing rental market share seen over the last decade continue to gather serious pace in the future.” 

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director, Ascend Properties