Home ownership falls for the first time in a century while rentals rise

Ownership of homes is down for the first time in 100 years

Ownership of homes is down for the first time in 100 years - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Home ownership has fallen for the first time in a century, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Between 2001 and 2011 the surge in home ownership that took place throughout much of the 20th century began to decrease, falling five per cent, while home rentals have risen by four per cent, from 31 to 36 per cent.

This news comes as London is said to be in the midst of a housing crisis, with commentators stating that a chronic shortage of homes and surging house prices are leading to more renters.

Both Westminster and Camden among the top five most expensive places to buy homes in England.

Vatche Cherchian, Regional Director of estate agent Portico, which has several offices in north London, said: “This is Generation Rent. People can’t buy so they’re forced into leasing properties.”

However, he explained that people are now renewing their tenancies and continuing to rent properties for longer, meaning a lot of the current rental stock isn’t turned over as frequently as it was in the past.

“On the whole there hasn’t been much of an increase in the number of rental properties in north London,” he said.

Mark Lawrinson, another of Portico’s directors, added that he believed there had been a drop in house sales in north London over the past 10 years which corresponded with the ONS figures.

“We have a severe lack of house-building in the capital and north London,” he said. “Put simply it’s a case of supply and demand, and in this case demand outweighs supply, pushing the prices up.”

But despite the decrease in home ownership, the figures show that more than half of the 23.4 million households in England and Wales are still owner-occupied and it appears that not everywhere is feeling the effects of the crisis.

Charles Christie-Webb, owner of Camden Bus Estate Agents who market property in Camden Town, claims that there has been an increase in the amount of house sales in the area he works.

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“I do think ‘how on earth do first time buyers get on the ladder’, but as far as the number of sales goes it’s been increasing over the past 10 years in Camden,” he said. “We monitor our 12 main competitors in the area too and the number of transactions is definitely up.”