The latest English Housing Survey just published is a national survey of people’s housing circumstances, living conditions, and the energy efficiency of housing in England.

Running since 1967. The survey from 2018-19 gives the latest snapshot of Housing in England for the period and covers tenure (owner occupation and the social and private rented sectors) and the demographic and economic characteristics of the people who live in the three tenures.

It shows how affordability varies between tenures and how this has changed over time. It indicates the buying expectations among renters, the average rental costs in the private and social rented sectors, and the extent to which private and social renters claim Housing Benefit.

The survey also gives an indication of the rates of overcrowding and under-occupation by tenure, plus an analysis of the personal well-being of occupants and the extent to which this varies by tenure.

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Results of the Survey – the main highlights

Owner occupation rates remain unchanged for the sixth year in a row. Of the estimated 23.5 million households in England, 15.0 million or 64% were owner occupiers. The proportion of households in owner occupation increased steadily from the 1980s to 2003 when it reached its peak of 71%. Since then, it has gradually declined to its current level, but has stabilised since 2013-14.

The proportion of households in the private rented sector also remains unchanged for the sixth year in a row. The proportion of households in the social rented sector has not changed for more than a decade. In 2018-19, the private rented sector accounted for 4.6 million or 19% of households. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the proportion of private rented households was steady at around 10%. While the sector has doubled in size since 2002, the rate has hovered around 19/20% since 2013-14.

The social rented sector, at 4.0 million households (17%), remained the smallest tenure, following a long downward trend which has stabilised over the last decade or so. However, the composition of the social rented sector has changed in recent years. In 2008-09, the social rented sector accounted for 18% of households with 9% (2.0 million) renting from housing associations and 9% (1.9

million) renting from local authorities. In 2018-19, 10% (2.4 million) rented from housing associations, 7% (1.6 million) from local authorities.

Average housing costs for private renters comes in at £200 per week compared to £102 per week for social renters and £172 for mortgagors which means that private renters lose a higher proportion of their household income paying for housing costs.

On average, English housing costs make up 33% of private renters’ income, whereas for social renters it is 27% and for mortgagors the housing costs are just 18% of their income and in London, with private renters spend over 40% of their income on housing. Social renters in the capital pay 31% of their income, with home owner mortgagors paying out 22%.

The proportion of unemployed households in the social rented sector rose in the year from 5.5% to 6.4%. Overall there were 253,000 unemployed households, up from 217,000 in 2017/18. This increase comes after years of falling unemployment in the sector, dropping from 10.3% in 2012/13 to 5.5% in 2017/18. By contrast, unemployment in the private rented sector fell for the seventh consecutive year from 7.3% in 2011/12 to 2.6% in 2018/19.

Despite rising unemployment, social rented households saw modest increases in their median weekly income from £326 to £341. But private renters saw less of an increase from £583 per week to £589. Taken together, the median weekly income across all tenures rose from £623 per week in 2017/18 to £641.

After more than a decade of decline, the proportion of 25-34 year olds in owner occupation has increased and there are now almost equal proportions of 25-34 year olds living in the private rented and owner occupied sectors. In 2018-19, 41% of those aged 25-34 lived in the private rented sector; a further 41% were owner occupiers.

Between 2003-04 and 2013-14, the proportion of 25-34 year olds in owner occupation decreased from 59% to 36%. Since then, the proportion of owner occupiers aged 25-34 has increased to 41%. Meanwhile, the proportion of 25-34 year olds in the private rented sector declined from its peak at 48% in 2013-14 to 41% in 2018-19.

Over the last decade, the proportion of people aged 55-64 living in the rented sectors has increased.

In 2018-19, 10% of 55-64 year olds lived in the private rented sector, up from 7% in 2008-09. Over the same period, the proportion of 55-64 year olds in the social rented sector increased from 14% to 17%. Meanwhile, the proportion of 55-64 year olds that were owner occupiers decreased from 79% to 73%.

In the last 20 years, overcrowding has increased in the rented sectors, and remains at the highest rate it has ever been in the social rented sector. In 2018-19, 8% of social renters lived in overcrowded accommodation, up from 5% in 1998-99. Over the same period, the proportion of private renters living in overcrowded accommodation increased from 3% to 6%.

Overcrowding is less prevalent among owner occupiers, just 1% of whom live in overcrowded accommodation. Under-occupation – i.e. having two or more spare bedrooms – has also

increased over the last 20 years, but only among owner occupiers. The proportion of renters living in under-occupied accommodation has declined. Between 1998-99 and 2018-19 the proportion of owner occupiers living in underoccupied accommodation increased from 42% to 52%.

Over the same time period under-occupation in the social rented sector decreased from 12% to 8% and in the private rented sector from 20% to 14%. There remains a lower proportion of non-decent homes in the social sector than in the private rented and owner occupied sectors.

In 2018, 12% of dwellings in the social rented sector failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard. This is lower than the proportion of private rented (25%) and owner occupied (17%) homes. Over the last decade, the proportion of non-decent homes has declined.

In 2008, 33% of the stock was non-decent. This has fallen to 18% in 2018. This decrease was observed across all tenures but has stalled in recent years. Across all tenures, the proportion of homes with HHSRS Category 1 hazards has declined over the past decade.

In 2018, 11% of the housing stock had a HHSRS Category 1 hazard, down from 23% in 2008. Such hazards are more prevalent in the private rented sector (14%) than owner occupied housing stock (11%) and the social rented sector (5%).

While the private rented sector had the highest proportion of homes with a Category 1 hazard, there was a notable decrease in the proportion of stock with such hazards, from 31% in 2008 to 14% in 2018.

The energy efficiency of English homes has increased considerably over the last 20 years, but slowed in recent years. In 2018 there was an improvement in almost all tenures. In 2018, the average SAP rating* of English dwellings was 63 points, up from 62 points in 2017. This increase was evident in all tenures apart from housing association dwellings where there was no significant increase.

* (A SAP Rating (Standard Assessment Procedure) is a way of comparing energy performance of different homes – it results in a figure between 1 and 100+ (100 representing zero energy cost and anything over means you are exporting energy). The higher the SAP rating, the lower the fuel costs and the lower the associated emissions of carbon dioxide.)

The proportion of dwellings in the highest SAP energy efficiency rating (EER) bands A to C increased considerably between 2008 and 2018, from 9% to 34%. Over the same period, the proportion of dwellings in the lowest F and G bands fell from 14% to 4%.

The proportion of homes with smart meters has continued to increase. In 2018, 22% of dwellings with mains electricity had an electricity smart meter and 21% of dwellings with mains gas supply had a gas one, up from 15% and 14% respectively in 20171.

The EHS results are broadly in line with smart meter statistics from the Department for Business,

Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). See footnote 12 for more details.

Owner occupiers and residents living in newer houses or high rise flats were more likely to report overheating. In 2018, 7% of residents reported that at least one part of their home got uncomfortably hot. Owner occupiers were more likely to report overheating (8%) than social renters (6%). Residents in homes built prior to 1965 were less likely to report that their home got uncomfortably hot (6%) compared to those in homes built after 1990 (9%).

Residents in high rise flats were more likely to report that at least part of their home got uncomfortably hot (12%), compared with those in low rise flats and terraced houses or semi-detached houses (all 7%)

English Housing Survey 2018-2019 published July 2020

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