Buying a home used to be seen as one of life’s big milestones for Brits. Alongside getting married, starting a career and having kids, owning a home was seen as one of those things that everyone would do eventually. But times have changed, and over the last few years, we’ve seen the country adopt a more European way of thinking in terms of how we live.
From a peak of more than three-quarters of people owning the home they live in, Eurostat data collected last summer shows that consistent drops in home ownership has meant that we now have a market where a little over 60 per cent of people own the property they live in.
People have increasingly turned to renting homes because of the great many benefits it offers them. For example, those who move into a rented property are more likely to live near work, where they can enjoy a strong life balance in one of the many new builds that have popped up in the last few years, specifically built with the rental market in mind.
On top of this, many people see renting as a great way to give them the freedom they desire early in their career. Young people are the most prominent tenants in the UK, with 46 per cent of young people aged between 25 and 34 now living in rented homes, according to the government, compared to a little over 20 per cent 20 years ago.
As well as the number of young people in rental homes having seen an increase, there was also a rise in the proportion of families with children who choose to rent rather than buying a home over the course of the past two decades.
According to the Department of Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) English Housing Survey, the number of households now in the rental sector across the country amounts to some 4.5 million. It means that since the 1990s, there has been a rise in the number of rental properties amounting to some 2.5 million homes; representing a doubling in the market.
This also means that as many as 20 per cent of all UK homes are now in the private rented sector, showing just how impressively the market has increased over the course of the past 20 years, and how mentalities have changed, with more people than ever before now choosing to be tenants rather than homeowners. Read the full history of the UK’s buy-to-let market here…
Overall, only 21 per cent of those surveyed said they were dissatisfied with their current status as private tenants, which indicates that the vast majority are happy about their own living situation. This is largely down to the improvements seen in the rental market over the last few decades, and the way it has become more of a choice than a necessity in the eyes of many.