Private rented sector has doubled in size since 2002

While the decline in home ownership seen over the past 10 years appears to have abated, the private rented sector is reported to have doubled in size since 2002, official figures show.

According to the English Housing Survey’s latest data, 19% (4.3 million) of all households were rented privately in England in 2014-2015.

There has been a significant upswing in the proportion of families with children living in private rented accommodation too, with nearly one million more families with dependent children now living in the private rental sector in England than a decade earlier.

Around 1.6 million families rent privately in England, which accounts for more than one in three (37%) privately rented households. Whereas in 2004-5, this figure stood at 30% of households.

This 7% increase means there are now around 912,000 more households with children in the private rented sector than there were 10 years ago.

The English Housing Survey also found that over the last 10 years there has been a rise in younger households in the private rented sector.

In 2004-05, 24% of people aged 25 to 34 years rented privately. The survey’s data from 2014-15 reveal that this figure has increased to 46%.

In 2014-15, the average age of first time buyers was 33 years old, up from 31 a decade earlier and last year the average first time buyer needed a deposit of £42,505 to secure a mortgage for their first home.

The proportion of private renters who expect to get on the property ladder has meanwhile fallen.

In 2014-15, 57% of private renters said they expect to buy a home at some point, down from 61% a year earlier.

The report concludes that younger households aged 25-34 are more likely to be renting privately than buying their own homes.

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."