Saturday, 5 January 2013

Actually, only sixty per cent of UK adults are owner-occupiers

It is often stated that 68% of UK households are owner-occupiers, but Rob B asked me whether there are any statistics on how many adults are owner-occupiers (singly or jointly with partner).

For example, if there are two houses, one owned-occupied by a single adult and the other rented to a couple, that's 50% of households who are owner-occupiers, but only 33% of adults.

As far as I can see, there are no such statistics, but we can reverse engineer it from the DCLG's English Housing Survey for 2008-09 and the ONS survey Families and people in families (published early 2012, Excel Tables here).

Table 3 of the former lists each household by type and says what percentage are owner-occupiers or tenants in England; sheets 1 and 7 of the latter give the absolute number of each household by type for the UK. We can assume that the percentages for England apply across the UK and thus multiply them by the absolute number.

We can then multiply the number of owner-occupier households with only one adult (single, widowed or lone parent) by one and the number of owner-occupier households with two adults (couple) by two (and the number of 'other' households by 1.5) and we arrive at the grand total of 30.1 million adults who can describe themselves as owner-occupiers.

The total number of adults in the UK from the 2011 census (click the link under Figure 3) is 50.5 million.

30.1 million divided by 50.5 million is just under sixty per cent.

(Quick check: there are 18 million owner-occupier households in the UK, of which one-third are single, widowed or lone parent and the other 12 million are couples; 6 million plus 24 million = 30 million. Looks about right).

We could tweak that a bit in either direction, for example we could deduct a million owner-ocupier households who have little or no equity in their home, but that is then guesswork/subjective.


A K Haart said...

Interesting statistic. So about 40% of adults are not owner-occupiers. Where will current trends take that figure I wonder - and how quickly?

Bayard said...

I can't see but that a drop in owner-occupiers would be a good thing for the economy. My tenants, having both got new jobs further away, have upped sticks and moved closer to their work with the minimum of fuss and expense. They were gone in three weeks and I'd be surprised if their relocation costs were more than £1K. I am pretty certain that, if they were owner occupiers, they would have stayed put and spent more time and money travelling.

Woodsy42 said...

The housing stats suggest there are just over 3 million units of social housing in England. By definition those are rented. Say 5million people? So you already have a 10% rental figure.
Common sense would suggest at least a similar number of private lettings so you can be sure of 20%.
But the number of adults in the census is an unknown - many will be teenagers living at home so they don't have a house.

Mark Wadsworth said...

AKH, the figure for 'owner-occupier households as a percentage" has dropped quite impressively over the last few years, so the already lower "owner-occupier adults..." figure will soon be near 50%.

B, yes, that effect has been widely observed, being willing and able to move quickly is in itself good for the economy.

W42, I think that is a large part of the difference between 68and 60%, all the 18+ year olds who are living with Mum and Dad, as well as groups of e.g. students sharing, shared houses etc.

Richard said...

Thought you might be interested in this story about rising German rents.

Mark Wadsworth said...

R, thanks, yes, Germans see rising prices and rents as A Bad Thing. Although houses are stupid expensive in many places, rents are pretty affordable wherever you are.

Bayard said...

"being willing and able to move quickly is in itself good for the economy"

More evidence that the Homey "consensus" has been manufactured. LVT, by removing the advantages of being an owner-occupier, would make renting more attractive and therefore more people would rent and thus be more mobile.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, yes, but that is an age thing.

Between leaving home and 'settling down with kids' is the age where you are more likely to move, whether for a change of scenery (or change of country) or for work or for romantic reasons or to save money etc. So you might as well rent and be prepared to move quickly.

Once you 'settle down with kids' your are pretty much hefted to one particular area, i.e. somewhere from where it is reasonably convenient for Mum and Dad to get to work and kids to go to school. The grief of all your kids changing school and both parents finding new jobs somewhere else is too much hassle and so you tend to stay within one small area, in which case, you might as well buy.

LVT only plays a small part in this, but it makes renting cheaper for younger people and makes owning cheaper for settled people.

Bayard said...

"Once you 'settle down with kids' your are pretty much hefted to one particular area."

My aforementioned tenants had children, but that didn't stop them moving 18 miles away, something that would have been unthinkable for an o-o and it's the mobility of just that sort of working people that is good for the economy.

I'd agree it's an "age thing", but not in the way you imply: it's an attitude of the current age. Neither of my grandfathers bought houses until they were in their late fifties, despite both inheriting houses from their parents (which they then sold). Tenancies were different in those days, before the government started getting involved.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, I would assume that the kids were pre-school age? Both our kids did change primary school, once for the better (from state to private) and once for our convenience (private to private) and for the little lass, it was a bit of a wrench.

Once they are both at secondary school, I really wouldn't want to move to a different area (but of course, that is only a ten year period out of a family's life when they are completely immobile).

Bayard said...

"B, I would assume that the kids were pre-school age?"

I think all four of them were at primary school, although I'm not sure about the youngest. Trying to avoid moving schools was the reason my tenants tried commuting, otherwise they would have gone six months previously, so yes, that was the least elastic factor.