With the population of England and Wales having grown by 7% in the last 10 years (an extra 3.7 million people), the results of the census give us some indication of why the press has been so fraught with stories of housing shortages over the last few years. The census data shows that the population has grown in all regions, and with the average household containing only 2.4 people, it’s easy to see why demand for property has skyrocketed.
The census has also confirmed what we already suspected: that renting is becoming more and more popular, with 15% of the population renting through estates agents or private landlords (3.6 million people - a rise of 6% on 2001). Mirroring population growth, the increase in private rentals was also recorded in all areas of the country, indicating that there is a good cause for the label the media is using for our current era: “Generation Rent”.
Meanwhile, compared with the 2001 census, 4% fewer people in England and Wales are homeowners, totalling 64% of households. Prior to this latest study, home ownership statistics had not fallen since the 1951 census, when the data reflected the knock-on effects of World War Two, a fact which helps to quantify how dramatic this change is. Only 33% of UK homes are now owned under a mortgage, and what is even more telling is that in central London, the number of people renting now far exceeds those that hold mortgages (29.2% renting, against 19.4% with a mortgage).
What is interesting, however, is that whilst the number of mortgage holders has dropped, more people now own their homes outright (31% of homeowners, against 29% in 2001). Perhaps this can be accounted for by fewer people moving as a result of the recession, people downsizing to free up cash or simply the ageing population.
Percentage-wise, it’s still clear that the majority of people own homes rather than rent them, but something which has changed is the demographic of those who rent. In 2001, renting was associated mainly with young people just moving out of the family home. In 2011, renters represent all sectors of society, from students to the middle-aged and families.
All this data suggests that the way in which we are finding accommodation and moving from place to place has changed dramatically since 2001, with rentals on the up and sales having taken a tumble. Further change is expected to continue as the nation claws its way back to financial stability, and with the government’s latest prediction that we will not return to our pre-Crash position until 2018, there is no doubt that the 2021 census (if it is commissioned – there is some talk about whether the extremely costly system should be scrapped) will prove just as interesting reading.
To find out more about property in the Manchester (UK) area, visit www.julietwist.com.