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Drop in home ownership reveals crucial role of BTL sector

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Landlords are set to play an even more central role in modern housing, a new report suggests, as home ownership plummets to levels last seen 30 years ago.

English home ownership now stands at just 63.8 per cent – a level recorded in 1986 – and private renting has doubled from 11 per cent in 2003 to 19 per cent in 2015.

Data from the Labour Force Survey shows that fewer than 60 per cent of households in Greater Manchester own their own home today – a level which is comparable to the London suburbs.

Levels of private renting in the city have more than trebled from six per cent to 20 per cent. 

The BTL sector’s growth in that period suggests that private rented accommodation will continue to play an ever-more crucial role in future housing provision.

Successive government failures to tackle the issue have contributed to a situation where the BTL industry’s contribution is vital.

Graham Morris, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for communities, described the housing crisis as ‘chronic’ and blamed the government for failing to deliver on its promise to build new homes as the UK now has the lowest level of new builds for a generation.

Meanwhile, the Department for Communities and Local Government said more than 300,000 people had been helped into home ownership with government schemes since 2010.  

Short-term contracts and increasingly unaffordable property prices were also blamed for a situation which has seen more and more young people barred from owning their own home.

Figures from the Nationwide show that the cost of the average UK home in February had risen to £196,930 – which marks a 60 per cent increase over the last 13 years.

Anne Baxendale, head of policy and public affairs at the housing charity Shelter, said house prices were now ‘completely out of step with average wages’. 

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