England now has an equal amount of private renters as social renters

Posted: 12/07/2012

According to recent study by the English Housing Survey, there is an equal amount of private renters as social renters in England. Home ownership has always been the main tenure in England but the latest rental sector figures come with a warning.

There has been an eruption of private renters since the economic downturn which has left many families unable to afford a mortgage so their only option is to rent. This has caused the amount of private renters to rise therefore, for the first time ever private renters equal the amount of social renters.

Both private and social renters combined share 17% of England’s housing stock. Since 2001 the number of private renters has jumped from 2.2 million to 3.7 million whilst local authority properties have dropped 1 million down to 1.8 million. The number of housing association properties has risen from 1.4 million to 2 million, which totals 3.8 million total social housing properties.

The figures present a concerning shortage of council houses which has drove more families to the private rental sector. The government are planning to publish a reviewed private rented sector policy after the demand for the private sector has pushed rents up.

The chief executive of Shelter, Campbell Robb spoke about the latest findings, ‘Many rents are now more expensive than mortgage repayments, with today’s figures showing that, on average, renters pay out almost £75 a month more than homeowners.’

Another study revealed that home owning could save you £194,000 compared to paying rent over a 50 year period. The average amount spent on buying a house, paying a mortgage and maintaining a typical home is £429,000 over a 50 year period however, over the same period an average renter will pay £623,000 on rent payments alone.

The saving for home owners in London is double the amount of the rest of the country even though it has the highest house prices. London also has the highest rent in the rest of the country costing an average of £17,520 a year. In comparison, the North West has the second lowest house prices at £111,264 on average but high rents making an average lifetime saving of £300,456 if you purchase your own home in the region.

Unfortunately, taking the first step onto the property ladder is tricky, with high deposits and a lack of mortgage availability being the main barriers. This results in many people becoming trapped as a life time renter because it's difficult to save up for a mortgage deposit whilst paying rent.

This study is based on the assumption that neither the buyer nor the renter move during the 50 year period. What do you make of the latest findings?

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd
www.paliltd.com

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