The British housing market has seen a massive shift in home ownership since the turn of the century.
A new study from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows the number of homes has increased by 8% since 2000, but the distribution of those homes among private landlords has changed significantly.
In 2001, the UK had 2.51 million private rented buy to let homes – with 2.13 million in England, 181,000 in Scotland, 90,445 in Wales and 47,000 in Northern Ireland.
In 2011-12, which is the last year for which figures are available, the balance had changed to 4.96 million private rented buy to let homes in the UK – with 4.28 million in England, 366,00 in Scotland, 190,534 in Wales and 121,000 in Northern Ireland.
The number of local authority homes declined sharply, due to right to buy and switching ownership to housing associations.
The proportion of private rented buy to let homes climbed from 9.79% in 2001 to 17.87% in 2012.
The study also found rents have not increased by as much as letting agents and landlord insurance indices purport to show.
Overall, according to the ONS, rents in England rose 4% between January 2011 and January 2014.
In Scotland, the rise was 3.6% and for Wales, just below 3%.
However, these are average figures – in the same period London rents were up 7%. The next highest were in the East (4%), while rents in the North East stagnated at 0.5% and every other region was less than 3%.
“The housing market in the UK has seen great change since the turn of the century. The overall level of dwelling stock has increased by over 8% from 2001/02 to 2011/12, while there has been substantial change in the proportions of different tenures across this time period,” said the ONS.
“Local authority housing makes up a much smaller part of stock, while housing associations and privately rented dwellings make up a larger part. This trend exists in every country, though there are differences in the proportions of dwelling stock across the nations.
“While the overall level of dwelling stock has increased, the number of houses built in the United Kingdom continues on a long term downward trend. Again, variation exists within the UK, with Northern Ireland completing houses at over double the per capita rate of Wales and England.”