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Middle-Aged Britons Increasingly Likely to Live in Private Rental Homes

Rent Guarantor Feb 17, 2020

If you're aged between 30 and 44, you're more likely to be living in the Private Rental Sector (PRS) than ever before. However, data also shows that the average monthly rent in the UK, has declined. Recent research highlights that most age groups are now more likely to live in PRS accommodation than 20, or even 10 years ago. And while rents have been rising over the past few years, the latest figures suggest a mild reversal of that trend. 

The latest research and analysis of data on housing tenures across the UK from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that the proportion of people living in the PRS has increased in all age groups under the age of 65. It also further confirmed that the proportion of Britons buying a home has fallen.

The UK’s Middle-Aged More Likely to Live in PRS

After confirming that the most popular tenure among Britons aged over 65 is to be an outright home-owner, looking at adults living in the UK aged between 16-64, the data highlight a clear increase in the number of people living in private sector rental homes.

In 2017, the most recent year the data is collated for, the ONS calculates that 25% of all 16-64 years olds lived in the PRS. That’s up from just 10% in 1993. The statistical agency adds that this increase in living in rental accommodation could also have an effect on average housing tenures in the future. For example, the proportion of outright home-owners among those aged 65 or over, could begin to decline.

However, although all age groups are more likely to be living in the PRS than ever before, it’s the UK’s middle-aged (35-44 age group) where the biggest change has taken place. In 1993, just 8.2% of this age group lived in private rental accommodation. This rose to 9.6% in 1998, 15.6% in 2008 before hitting 28.5% in 2016. The proportion then fell a little to 27.6% of 35-44 year olds living in the PRS in 2017.

That means if you’re in that age group, you’re three-and-a-half times more likely to live in the PRS than in 1993.

Percentage of people living in the PRS by age group and over time


UK Rents Edge Lower

However, while living in the PRS is a more likely housing tenure than it was a few years ago, there is some good news; the latest rental figures suggest average rents fell a little in January. The average UK rent slipped from £902 in December 2019, to £874 in January 2020.

On a regional level, rents rose in the north west and north east of England. They were unchanged in London, Greater London and the South East. Rent declined in the south west, Wales and also in east and west Midlands.

Despite an increase, the lowest average monthly rent of £604 is in north east England. Meanwhile, the highest is of course, London, at £1,669.

No reason for the slowdown in average rents was suggested, although it’s possible it could be a seasonal development, amid a slow market in the new year. However, regardless of why rents have fallen, it’s good news for the many renters across the UK.

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