How People Live Today: English Housing Survey Results Out

The results of the government’s English Housing Survey 2017-18 – showing how we live today – have been released, and some of the results may be a surprise against the backdrop of an evolving housing market.

According to the survey, most families in England currently own their homes, with 64% of all households being owner-occupiers.

Meanwhile, the number of 35-44 year olds who have chosen to buy their own homes has risen for the first time after more than a decade of decline.

How we live

Among those owner-occupiers, more than half (53%) were found to own their homes outright, with the rest having mortgages on their property. Social renters – those renting from local authorities and housing associations – make up the smallest number of households in England, at 17%. This figure has remained stable for more than a decade.

Meanwhile, residents who rent their homes from private landlords – known as the private rented sector – make up the second largest number of households in England, at 19%. The proportion of households in this sector hasn’t changed in five years, but it has doubled since 2002, when it stood at around 10%. This reveals a trend where more people have gone from being owner-occupiers to renters.

Type of homes we live in

Social renters are more likely to live in houses, with 56% doing so. Terraced houses are the most common property type, with 31% of these renters living in one. Most private renters also live in houses, at 63%. Again, terraced houses were the most common type of house, with 35% calling one home.

Flats or maisonettes aren’t too far behind for social renters, though, with 44% living in one. But private renters aren’t as fond, with 36% spending their days in one.

Who lives in what home?

Single parents make up a higher proportion of the social rented sector (22%) than the private rented (14%) and owner-occupied (6%) sectors. But single person households are the most common type in the social rented sector, at 41%. This is compared with 25% of both private renters and owner-occupiers.

The most common type of home owner is a couple without children, accounting for 36% of these households. Those who do own their homes outright tend to be older, with an average age of 68 compared to the average age of 46 for those who own with a mortgage. Meanwhile, those who had recently bought their first homes had an average age of 33. The average age of a private renter is 40 and 53 for a social renter.

Who’s moving most?

Couples with no dependent children were found to be the most settled in 2017-18, with 7% reporting that they moved in the last year. Multi-person households – including student properties and house shares – were the biggest movers, with 16% having moved in the last year. Single parents weren’t far behind, with 12% packing their bags for pastures new.

Retired residents were generally found to have stayed put in the last year, with just 3% having moved. Unsurprisingly, most students had to find somewhere new to live, with 58% changing addresses.

More decent homes

There is still a lower proportion of ‘non-decent’ homes – properties that fail to meet the Decent Homes Standard – in the social sector than in private rented and owner-occupied sectors. The survey revealed that 13% of homes in the social rented sector failed to meet this standard, compared to 35% of private rented and 19% of owner-occupied.

But there is good news – the number of non-decent homes has fallen from 35% of all properties in 2007 to 19% in 2017.


Social renters are less satisfied with their homes, including the way their landlord carries out repairs and maintenance than private renters. Some 26% of social renters reported being either slightly or very dissatisfied with the way their landlord maintains their homes, compared to 17% of private renters.

When it comes to general satisfaction with where they live, 80% of social renters said they’re either fairly or very satisfied. This is slightly less than those living in the private rented (84%) and significantly less than owner-occupied (95%) sectors.

If you’ve been experiencing a dispute with your landlord over repairs or any other housing issue, First4Lawyers could get you the help you need to make things right. To find out more, just give us a call, request a call back at the top of your screen or start your enquiry here.


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