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Government release latest leasehold figures

Thursday 25 October 2018

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published its latest statistics on the number of leasehold dwellings in England, looking at the number of leasehold properties in the owner occupied, social and private rented sectors.

The release reveals that between 2016-17, there were an estimated 4.3 million leasehold dwellings in England, equating to around 18 per cent of the English housing stock.

Of these, 1.4 million (33 per cent) were houses - a figure which appears to have gone unchanged since last year, despite the Governments call to put an end to the development and sale of leasehold houses.

2.3 million of the dwellings (54 per cent) were in the owner occupied sector and 1.7 million (40 per cent) were privately owned and being let in the private rented sector. The remaining 244,000 (6 per cent) were dwellings owned by social landlords and let in the social rented sector.

Commenting on the statistics, NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive, Mark Hayward, said: “Although the Government recently announced a consultation to improve the leasehold sector and crack down on unfair practices for new properties, today’s figures show that thousands of homeowners are already trapped. With an estimated 4.3 million leasehold dwellings in 2016-17, 1.4 million of which were houses, homeowners across the country are facing increasing ground rent charges, fees for making alterations to their properties, and in some cases, they are unable to sell their homes.

“Our Leasehold: A Life Sentence? report found that 78 per cent of leasehold house owners bought their homes directly from the developer, and 65 per cent used the solicitor the builder recommended. However, 45 per cent didn’t realise they were only buying the leasehold until it was too late and as a result, 62 per cent feel like they were mis-sold and the vast majority (93 per cent) say they definitely wouldn’t buy another leasehold property.

“Buying a home is a big undertaking, and those who buy a newbuild are often under the impression that buying something brand new means it will be perfect. Unfortunately though, that isn’t the case and most buyers have no idea about the trappings of a leasehold contract until it’s too late. This should never have been allowed to happen, so as an industry it’s time we listened to the victims and sought a robust solution for all those affected.”

In September 2017 we responded to the Government’s consultation on ‘Tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market’, where we first made it clear that the sale of new-build leasehold houses should come to an end.

This sentiment was then reiterated in September this year when we responded to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee's Leasehold Reform Inquiry. Importantly, we expressed that although the Government is taking steps to end unfair leasehold practice, more needs to be done to remedy existing leaseholders.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government began collecting dwelling stock data in 2014, by matching English Housing Survey and Land Registry data, and is keen to understand more about how housing statistics and data are used and the decisions they inform, so if you have a spare couple of minutes, please take a moment to complete their survey.