Countrywide comment on the EHS Headline Report published today

The Department for Communities and Local Government published their English Housing Survey (EHS) Headline Report 2010-11 today.  The report shows a downward trend in owner occupiers with just 66 per cent of households being owner occupied; 2009-10 saw owner occupation at 67 per cent.
An estimated 21.9 million households in England live in private accommodation, which excludes those living in accommodation such as nursing homes or halls of residence, with owner occupiers having the largest tenure (14.5 million households).
The private rented sector accounts for only 16.5 per cent of households and the social rented sector at 17.5 per cent.
Commenting on the report, Grenville Turner, Chief Executive of Countrywide, said:
“Successive governments have widely encouraged homeownership but the impact of the recession has led to a structural change in the property market with the private rental sector now a natural stage in the homeownership cycle. Renting is the only option for a growing number of individuals and families trying to raise deposits to secure mortgages.*
The impact of this has caused an additional 275,000 new tenants to flood the private rental sector in 2011— a 24% increase on the previous year*. Current demand levels indicate that there will soon be more people in the private rental sector than social housing, which will only add to the already saturated demand and supply imbalance in the market.
The increasing cost discrepancy between renting privately or in the social housing sector is not sustainable in the long term (£160 per week versus to £79).  With rents in the private rental sector typically 49% more expensive, if not addressed, this is likely to create a two-tier system, which will compound the affordability and overcrowding issues highlighted in this report.
The government has a responsibility to help break the barriers that are preventing institutional investment by doing more to drive B2L mortgage availability, landlord/investment tax relief and development activity to ensure we have sustainable private housing sector.  In addition, the Government must press on with programmes to improve the supply of affordable accommodation by working together with businesses to deal with this issue. A stronger programme to address affordable housing supply will make the first stage of property ownership easier to achieve, helping people to move up the housing ladder towards owner occupation.”
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