Census 2011: the facts about the housing crisis

Renting is up and home ownership is down – but what else can housing professionals learn from the latest census release?

The rise of Generation Rent was finally quantified this week, when release of data from the 2011 census showed the proportion of households renting privately has almost doubled – from 9% (1.9 million) of households in England and Wales in 2001 to 15% (3.6 million) in 2011. Meanwhile the number of households with a mortgage has dropped from 39% (8.4 million) to 33% (7.6 million) and overall home ownership fell from 69% to 64%.

But what else can the census tell us about housing trends in England and Wales? We’ve drawn together the standout figures below.

2011 census at a glance

• The number households renting privately increased from 9% (1.9 million) of the population in 2001 to 15% (3.6 million) in 2011.

• Home ownership (including outright ownership) fell four four points from 69% to 64%, but is still the most common tenure in England and Wales.

• Outright home ownership increased by two percentage points from 29% (6.4 million) to 31% (7.2 million).

• The number of households renting their home from a local authority fell from 13% (2.9m) to 9% (2.2m), though this can be mainly attributed to the transfer of council housing stock to housing associations.

• More households rented privately (29.2%) than had mortgages (19.4%) in inner London.

• Overcrowding has increased with 9% of households (2 million) having one bedroom too few for the number of inhabitants. In 2001, 7% of households (1.5 million) were overcrowded.

• London boroughs dominated the areas with the highest concentration of households living in overcrowded accommodation, with Newhamtopping the table with 25.4% of households overcrowded.

• The average number of rooms per household (5.4) increased 0.1% on the estimate of 5.3% from 2001 (the question was not asked in the previous census). Households in Wales had the highest number of room at 5.7, while London had, by far, the lowest average number of rooms (4.7%).

• Married and civilly partnered couples made up under half of all households (47%). This is the first time this has fallen below 50% in the history of the census.

• The number of cohabiting couples increased from 8% of all households (1.8 million) to 10% (2.3 million).

• Single-person households also increased by 500,000 but make up 30% of total household composition – the same percentage as in 2001.

• The percentage of households living in flats, maisonettes, apartments and tenements increased from 14% (3.1 million) to 16% (4 million).

• The overall population of England and Wales has increased 7% to 56.1 million.

• The immigrant population for England and Wales increased by 2.9 million with India, Poland and Pakistan the most common countries that foreign-born residents have arrived from.

• 81% of residents in England and Wales describe themselves as being in good or very good health.

Article courtesy of The Guardian

So what could this mean for landlords and letting agents?

What jumps out at me is the rise in the number of Single-person households, as well as the percentage of households living in flats, maisonettes, apartments and tenements.  This could be interpreted as a demand for these types of properties particularly by people who do not want to share with another person.  To add these to your portfolio may be a wise choice as they would appeal to the growing number of single-person households.  Like any purchase of property, other factors such as location and local amenities would also need to be taken into consideration.  With RentPro property management software you have the flexibility to grow your portfolio.

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