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What does the English Housing Survey reveal about homes in England?

Wednesday 31 January 2018

The Government has released the English Housing Survey for 2016-17 which looks at England's housing stock, tenure types, people's living circumstances and trends over time.

In 2016-17, there were an estimated 23.1 million households in England, with owner occupation the largest tenure group, accounting for 14.4 million, or 63 per cent, of the population.

Ownership rates have remained largely unchanged over the past four years, however there are now more outright owners (34 per cent) while the proportion of those buying with a mortgage is down (28 per cent).

Over the last decade however, the drop in the proportion of 25-34 and 35-44 year olds in owner occupation has been particularly pronounced. The survey revealed that the number of under-45s owning their own homes has dropped by more than a million since 2010.

In 2006-07, about three quarters of those aged 35-44 were owner occupiers. By 2016-17, this had fallen to half. And in 2009/10 some 4.46 million under-45s owned a property in England; that figure fell to 3.41m by 2017.

Housing minister Dominic Raab says the figures would have been worse without government initiatives helping some 440,000 families onto the property ladder since 2010. He also says National House Building Council figures show the highest number of new homes registered to be built for a decade. “We’re restless to do much more, and have an ambitious reform agenda to deliver the homes this country needs” he said.

London vs the rest of the UK

When compared with the other English regions, London had a very different tenure profile, with outright ownership representing only 25 per cent of households, and a further 22 per cent buying with a mortgage. These figures provide a stark contrast to the rest of the country, with 36 per cent owning their property outright, and 30 per cent with a mortgage, and 19 per cent of people privately renting. 

Energy efficiency

The energy efficiency of homes in England has increased considerably in the last 20 years, but did not increase between 2015 and 2016.

SAP ratings are a requirement of the Building Regulations, and are required for all newly built dwellings in the UK. SAP works by assessing how much energy a dwelling will consume, when delivering a defined level of comfort and service provision. The assessment is based on standardised assumptions for occupancy and behaviour.

In 2016, the average SAP rating of English dwellings was 62 points, up from 45 points in 1996. This increase was evident in all tenures. However, the increase appears to be slowing and there was no change in the average SAP rating of homes between 2015 and 2016 (in any tenure).

The report reveled that number of dwellings with smart meters has increased. In 2016, nine per cent of dwellings with mains electricity had an electricity smart meter and eight per cent of dwellings with mains gas supply had a gas one - this is up from six per cent and four per cent respectively in 2015.

Safety first

The number of homes with working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms has also increased. Between 2016-17, 90 per cent of households had at least one working smoke alarm, up from 89 per cent in 2015-16 and 84 per cent in 2008-09. The increase between 2008-09 and 2016-17 was observed across all housing tenures. 

In 2016, 33 per cent of all dwellings had a carbon monoxide alarm, up from 28 per cent in 2015. Dwellings with a solid fuel appliance, such as a coal fire or wood burning stove, were more likely to have a carbon monoxide alarm than dwellings with no solid fuel appliance (37 per cent compared with 32 per cent).

Read the full report