The Proportion of Income Spent on Rent by Private Tenants Has Fallen Over the Past Decade

2017/18, The latest English Housing Survey shows that the proportion of income spent on private rents was an average of 32.9% in the period, which is down from 34.3% in the previous year 2016/17 and 36.4% in 2014/15.

With the Government considering how to increase the length of private tenancies, the Survey also found that the average time that a private tenant has spent in their current home was up from 3.9 years in 2016/17 to 4.1 years in 2017/18.


The latest Survey found that, of the estimated 23.2m households in England, 14.8m (64%) were owner-occupiers in 2017/18. The proportion of homeowner households increased steadily from the 1980s to 2003, when it hit a peak of 71%.

Since then, owner-occupation has gradually declined to its current level. However, the rate of homeownership has not changed since 2013/14.

After more than a decade of decline, the proportion of 35-44-year-olds in owner-occupation has increased. In 2017/18, 57% of those in this age group were homeowners, which has risen from 52% in 2016/17.

While owner-occupation remains the most prevalent tenure for this category, there has been a considerable rise in the proportion of 35-44-year-olds living in the private rental sector (from 13% in 2007/08 to 28% in 2017/18).

Private renting

After a period of substantial growth, the proportion of households in the private rental sector has not changed for five years. Meanwhile, the share of households in the social rental sector has not changed for over a decade.

In 2017/18, the private rental sector accounted for 4.5m (19%) households. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the proportion of private rental households was steady, at around 10%. While the sector has doubled in size since 2002, the rate has hovered around 19-20% since 2013/14.

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Please refer to the Risks warning page of this site for a more comprehensive description of the risks involved.

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