Number of UK rental homes has doubled since 1990s

The number of people owning UK property has been falling for some time now, dropping from more than three-quarters in the 1980s to less than two-thirds as of the middle of this decade, Eurostat data shows.

And according to new figures published this week by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the number of people instead choosing to rent homes has now hit its highest level ever.

It said that as of mid-2016, the number of homes that are privately rented amounted to 20 per cent of households nationwide. It means that when compared to the average throughout the 1990s, the proportion of homes available in the private rented market has doubled.

The DCLG report also shows that the main demographics for rented homes are strengthening their positions within this market. It said that both young professionals and families remain among the most common tenants in the private rented sector, with both having grown in prominence over the last few years.

In the year 2015/2016, the DCLG said, the number of households in the private rented sector reached as many as 4.5 million. This means there are nearly two million more properties occupied by private tenants than there were in 2000.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect, however, of the report, is just how much the number of young people renting has risen. According to the data, the proportion of young people aged 25 to 34 who lived in the rented sector increased from 24 per cent in 2005/2006, to 46 per cent in 2015/2016.

While many will have had to become tenants because of the increasing difficulty in being able to afford a home, for many others, there are real positives behind their reasons for becoming private tenants.

For example, many choose to rent rather than buy because they are still upwardly mobile in their career, and embrace the freedom to move at short notice that comes with not owning the property they live in.

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