The goverrnment says new figures show that after a year-after-year decline in the number of people owning their home, starting in 2003, there has been no change in the number of owner occupiers in England in the past year.
This week’s release of data from English Housing Survey - the official audit of the country’s housing, which ironically the government wanted to cut before doing a U-turn last summer - has shown that that out of the 22.5m households in England in 2014 to 2015, the number of people owning their own home has remained static.
This last happened in 2003.
Housing minister Brandon Lewis says the news is a vindication of his government’s policies.
“In 2010 there was a housing market where buyers couldn’t buy, builders couldn’t build and lenders couldn’t lend. Our efforts are turning that around with more than 270,000 families helped into homeownership through government-backed schemes since 2010, while the number of new homes is up 25 per cent over the last year” he says.
“[The] figures ... also provide evidence that the government’s decision to reinvigorate and extend its flagship Right to Buy scheme has boosted the aspiration of social housing tenants with those expecting to buy their current home rising from 35 per cent in 2010-11 to 42 per cent in 2014-15. More than 46,000 people have taken up the chance to buy their home through the reinvigorated scheme since 2012 with councils delivering replacement properties on a one to one basis ahead of schedule” he claims.
However, Savills research associate director Neil Hudson appears not to agree.
He has told the Financial Times that he was “hesitant in declaring the housing market fixed” adding that “there is a high probability that the trend will resume in next year’s survey.”
Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat was also less than ecstatic.
“While the overall decline in home ownership appears to have halted, we need to think about what the future holds, especially for young people struggling to access a decent home at a price they can afford” she says.
“The average age of first-time buyers has increased from 31 to 33 in the last decade, and over the same period the proportion of 25 to 34 year olds buying with a mortgage has dropped significantly, from 54 per cent to 34 per cent” claims Alafat.