Buy to Let

Households renting rises by 1.7 million over last decade

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

The number of households in the UK private rented sector has grown significantly over the past decade, with an increase of 1.7m

In the private rented sector, the number of households jumped to 4.5m in 2017, compared to 2.8m in 2007, according to official figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The report found that the number of households rose by seven per cent to 27.2m in 2017 from 25.6m in 2007.

Over this period, the number of owner occupier households remained broadly consistent at 17.7m households.

However, households owned outright increased from 7.9m to 9.4m while households buying with a mortgage fell from 9.8m to 8.3m.

The number of social rented households decreased by 200,000 households to 4.5m.

Renters getting older

The report found that younger people are more likely to rent privately, with those in the 25-to-34 years age group representing the largest group in 2017 – accounting for 35 per cent of the market.

Between 2007 and 2017, the proportion of renters aged 45-to-54 increased from 11 to 16 per cent, an estimated increase of 384,000 households.

On the other hand, those aged 16-to-24 dropped from 17 to 12 per cent of all renters.

In 2017, around 35 per cent of one adult households with children were in the private rented sector, compared with 18 per cent in 2007.

For households without children, the largest percentage increase has been for those comprised of one male adult. In 2007, 16 per cent were in the private rented sector compared with 27 per cent last year.

In 2017, 62 per cent of households in the private rented sector in the UK had spent under three years in the same accommodation and only a four per cent had been in the same residence for 20 years or longer.

Northern Ireland had the newest private rented housing stock, with 38 per cent built after 1980, while Wales had the oldest, with 43 per cent built pre-1919.

Reduction in investment in rental property

Kate Davies, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), said the recent period of subdued rental price increases may be disguising the true effect of various tax and regulatory changes imposed since mid-2015.

She said these measures were continuing to erode the buy-to-let sector, and in turn the whole private rental sector.

Davies added: “We may be approaching a watershed, as landlords will only be starting to feel the adverse effects of income tax changes when these are reflected in their tax bills for the first time this month.

“This continued erosion in buy-to-let is visible in the reduction in investment in rental property, with net investment in buy-to-let collapsing by 80% over just two years.

“It is no coincidence that, despite a growing contribution from build to rent, 2017 brought an abrupt reversal to 16 years of uninterrupted growth in the stock of private rental dwellings.

“We will continue to raise concerns about the full effects that tax and regulatory layering will eventually have on property availability and tenant choice. If, as we expect, policies contribute to higher rents for tenants, this will in turn make it harder for those who are trying to save for deposits to buy their own homes.

“Buy-to-let landlords represent a key element of the private rental sector, providing homes for a very wide spectrum of households. This includes many benefit claimants, who would in the past have had access to social housing.”