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Number of home owners in England rises slightly for first time since 2004

The number of people in England who own their own their own home has increased for the first time in more than a decade, but only modestly, official figures show.

Overall, there were 23.9 million homes in England at the end of March 2017, an increase of 217,000 or 0.92% compared with the same month in 2016, according to the data published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Of these some 15.1 million were owner occupied, 4.8 million occupied by tenants in the private rented sector and four million rented out by councils and housing associations.

This means that some 62.9% of homes are owned by the occupier, up from 62.4% in 2016 and 2015. But this is still well below the peak of home ownership recorded at 69.5% in 2003.

However, Housing Minister Dominic Raab welcomed the small increase, the first for 13 years. He admitted that still more needs to be cone to provide more homes. ‘We are restless to do more and build the homes young families, key workers and those on lower or middle incomes can afford. This Government is determined to restore the dream of home ownership for the next generation,’ he said.

A breakdown of the figures show that between March 2016 and March 2017, the number of owner occupied homes increased by 262,000 and private rented homes decreased by 46,000 while the social and affordable rented stock increased by 3,000 and the other public sector stock decreased by 1,000.

The figures also show that there were 605,891 vacant homes in England at the beginning of October 2017, an increase of 16,125 or 2.7% from 589,766 in October 2016. It means that empty homes now account for 2.5% of the housing stock.

The number of homes empty over the long term, that is six months of more, also increased by 2.6% to 205,293 in October 2017, from 200,145 in October 2016. Long term empty homes now make up 0.9% of the housing stock.

The number of owner occupied homes increased between 2014 and 2017 after a period of decline. The proportion of in owner occupation increased steadily from the 1980s to 2002 when it reached its peak of 69.5%. Since then, owner occupation gradually declined to level out at 62.4% in 2015 and 2016, increasing slightly to 62.9% in 2017.

This is consistent with the latest figures on households in owner occupation revealed by the English Housing Survey which show that owner occupation rates remain unchanged for the fourth year in a row, for the period 2013/2014 to 2016/2017.

Private rented sector homes decreased between 2016 and 2017 and represent 20% of the total stock after previous successive year on year increases. The number of social and affordable rented homes increased year on year resulting from a rise in Private Registered Provider dwellings exceeding the fall in Local Authority stock.

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