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The latest English Housing Survey, just released by the government, gives a startling insight into the housing market - including the revelation that for the first time the majority of owner occupiers own their homes outright, without a mortgage.

However, home ownership levels have now fallen to a 29-year low with a particularly shocking collapse of the number of 25-34 year old owner occupiers - only 36 per cent of households in that age category are owner-occupiers, compared to 59 per cent a decade ago.

Owner occupiers remained the biggest sector, with 14.3 million households, or just under two-thirds of the 22.6 million total, owning outright or with a mortgage. For the first time in over 30 years most owner-occupation households are now mortgage-free.

Some 7.4m households were outright owners while 6.9m are mortgagors. The majority of outright owners, 4.5m households, had at least one resident aged 65 and over.

Key facts for 2013-14 include:

- There were an estimated 22.6 million households in England. Overall, 63 per cent or 14.3 million were owner occupiers, of which 33 per cent (7.4m) owned outright and 31 per cent (6.9m) buying with a mortgage. This has changed from 2012-13, when equal proportions were owned outright and with a mortgage.

- The proportion of all households in owner occupation increased steadily from the 1980s to 2003 when it reached a peak of 71 per cent. Since then, there has been a gradual decline in owner occupation to the current 63 per cent.

- Only one per cent of owner occupiers (212,000 households) were overcrowded in 2013-14 compared with six per cent of social renters (236,000) and five per cent of private renters (218,000).

- In contrast, half of all owner occupiers were under-occupying their home, substantially higher than private renters (15 per cent) and social renters (10 per cent).

- There were 6.3m households in England with a head of household of 65 years of age or older in 2013-14. The majority (77 per cent) of these households were owner occupiers. Of these, 4.5m owned their home outright and 334,000 were still paying off a mortgage,

- The proportion of households with at least one resident aged 65 or over, that were outright owners, increased from 65 per cent in 2003-04 to 72 per cent in 2013-14.

- In 2013, 4.8m dwellings (21 per cent) failed to meet the decent homes standard, a reduction of 2.9m homes since 2006, when around a third (35 per cent) of homes failed to meet the decent home standard.

The majority of stats in the survey, and undoubtedly the most startling results, concerned the growth in the private rented sector:

- In 2013-14, 19 per cent (4.4m) of households were renting privately, up from 18 per cent in 2012-13 and 11 per cent in 2003. The proportion of households renting social housing remained steady at 17 per cent (3.9m).

- In 2013-14 almost half (48 per cent) of all households aged 25-34 rented privately, up from 45per cent in 2012-13. The proportion in this age group living in the private rented sector has more than doubled from 21 per cent in 2003-04. Over the same 10 years, owner occupation in this age group dropped from 59 per cent to 36 per cent.

- In 2013-14, average weekly private rents were £281 in London and £145 outside of London. There was a smaller difference between average weekly social rents in London (£125) and outside London (£87).

- In 2013-14, the private rented sector accounted for 4.4m or 19 per cent of households. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the proportion of private sector households stayed steady at around 10 per cent. However, the sector has undergone sharp growth since then and has doubled in size since 2002, driven by a number of factors. In the late 1990s rent controls were removed, and assured shorthold tenancies became the standard, giving greater flexibility in the length of tenancies. Lenders also introduced the buy-to-let mortgage at around the same time.

- In London, the proportion of households in the private rented sector increased from 14 per cent to 30 per cent between 2003-04 and 2013-14. Over the same period, the proportion of households in London that were owner occupied, but buying with a mortgage declined from 39 per cent to 27 per cent. In London, the private rented sector became as large as the mortgagor sector in 2013-14.

- The proportion of private rented households with a HRP aged 65 or over remained low (five per cent) over the 10 year period.

- In the private rented sector, households with children increased in both proportion and number between 2003-04 (29 per cent) and 2013-14 (36 per cent). With strong growth in the overall number of private renters over this time, the moderate percentage point increase equates to about one million more households with children. There was no significant change in proportion of social rented households with dependent children between 2003-04 (35 per cent) and 2013-14 (33 per cent).


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    RD: I suppose this all depends on the opinion of the individual, i.e- is owning your own home the most important thing in life

    I currently rent. I work solely as a sales agent, but can not afford a property of my own- sounds kind of unfair Not bothered to be frank.

    Would I like to own my own property Sure! But i'm also happy to continue renting for the time-being as long as my rent stays the same!

    To be honest, when I look at the state of these tightly packed new build units of 'affordable housing', it makes me feel quite lucky to be living in my rented cottage where the landlord pays to fix my boiler, replace my guttering and even, on occasion, mow my grass!

    • 26 February 2015 17:01 PM
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    [quote]with a particularly shocking collapse of the number of 25-34 year old owner occupiers[/quote]

    Not exactly surprising, is it Rocketing house prices, tougher lending criteria, lower wages, higher cost of living - all these things lead to many long-term renters and a lack of people jumping onto the property ladder. It's not rocket science.

    • 26 February 2015 14:00 PM
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    No, I think it definitely is. The housing shortage/crisis is a massive topic of discussion, especially with an ageing and rising population. The NAEA and ARLA manifesto released yesterday raised some interesting and prescient points.

    I agree with you about the younger generations, too, and it's only going to get worse unless something is done to arrest sky high prices. More affordable houses need to be built to help first-time buyers onto the market - at the moment, demand is outstripping supply at a ridiculous rate. That's just not sustainable.

    • 26 February 2015 13:54 PM
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    This information doesn't come as a surprise - but it really does hammer home the plight of the younger generations. Would it be self-centred of a property enthusiast to say that housing is [b]the[/b] biggest issue for the upcoming election

    • 26 February 2015 11:30 AM
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