Home ownership down and renting up for first time in a century

The decade 2001 to 2011 saw substantial changes in longstanding trends in home ownership and renting. In 2011, the proportion of owned homes decreased by 5 percentage points, the first fall in a century. As a consequence, home rentals have increased- this was more common among young people. At the same time, 1.1 million household in England and Wales were overcrowded.

Statistics on housing and home-ownership are essential for planning and monitoring of housing provision across the country.

Home ownership fell for the first time in a century

Tenure, England and Wales, 1918 to 2011

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The decade 2001 to 2011 saw substantial changes in longstanding trends in home ownership and renting. In 2011, more than half (64%, 15.0 million) of the 23.4 million households in England and Wales were owner occupied, however this was a decline from 69% in 2001, which was the first fall in a century.

As a consequence, there has been an increase in the proportion of rented households (31% to 36%), particularly within the private sector; private rentals rose from 12% to 18% of the housing market, whilst social rented households remained stable, falling slightly from 19% to 18%.

Renters were younger and less likely to be employed. Almost 9 in 10 (87%) HRPs aged 16-24 were renting compared with less than a quarter (24%) of those aged 65-74. Meanwhile, only 1% of HRPs who owned their house were unemployed, compared with 7% of HRPs who rented.

The HRP (Household representative Person) is usually the oldest full-time worker in a household.

Over a million households in England and Wales were overcrowded

Tenure by occupancy category, England and Wales, 2011 

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While the majority of households (69%, 16.1 million) were under-occupied in 2011, almost 1 in 20 (5%, 1.1 million) households were overcrowded1.

More than two-thirds (68%) of all overcrowded households were rented. In fact rented households were nearly four times more likely (8.6% private rented, 8.7% social rented) to be overcrowded than owner-occupied households (2.3%).

The greatest extent of household overcrowding was seen in London where around 1 in 10 (11%) households were overcrowded. This was more than twice the level seen in the West Midlands, the region with the second highest degree of household overcrowding at 5%. Housing costs are likely to be the main driver of overcrowding in London compared to the rest of England and Wales.

More locally, the five local authorities with the highest percentage of overcrowded households were urban areas in London. Newham was at the top of the local area ranking, with a quarter (25.2%) of its households overcrowded. By contrast, areas with the lowest proportions of overcrowded households were rural, for example, in North Kestevan in the East Midlands, just 1.1% of households were overcrowded.

Nearly half of all overcrowded households had a HRP from a minority ethnic group

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Household overcrowding is most common among younger people who rent in urban areas. This means that minority ethnic groups who are younger and more likely to live in cities, compared to the majority white British population, are more likely to experience household overcrowding.

Households with a HRP in a minority ethnic group accounted for almost half (48%) of all overcrowded households despite making up only 16% of all households.

Overcrowding was most common in households with a Bangladeshi HRP (around 3 in every 10 households with a Bangladeshi HRP).

Visit the 2011 Census Analysis website for more information on what the 2011 Census told us about England and Wales, or contact census.customerservices@ons.gov.uk.