Data for this analysis comes from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), a representative UK-wide survey. It looks at the number of households in different regional, demographic and housing tenure groups at five-year intervals.

At the end of 2016, around 65% of UK households were owner-occupiers, 17% were renting from a private landlord and 18% were renting from a social landlord. Social renting has declined since 1996, while private renting has increased. The rate of owner-occupation is also slightly lower than it was ten years ago.

Some of the key trends are described below – see the full paper for more detail.


Owner-occupation is least common in London and more common in the South of England and in Wales.

London and the North of England also saw less growth in the number of households owner-occupying between 1996 and 2016.

Social renting is more common in Scotland, the North of England and London. The number of social renters has fallen – particularly in the North – over the last twenty years.

Private renting has grown across the UK, and is currently most common in London.


Households with a younger household reference person (HRP) are less likely to be owner-occupiers and more likely to rent privately.

The age gap in home ownership rates has grown over the last twenty years: 16-34 year olds have become less likely to own their home, and over-65s more likely (see chart below).

Home ownership by age of household reference person


Home ownership is more common amongst households led by someone who is White, Indian or Pakistani than other ethnic groups.

The rate of home ownership fell amongst all ethnic groups between 2001 and 2016, but the fall was greater amongst non-White ethnic groups.

Home ownership by ethnic group of household reference person

Country of birth

Households led by someone born outside the UK are less likely to own their home and more likely to rent privately. Rates of social renting are similar for UK-born and non-UK-born household reference persons.

The number of households led by someone born outside of the UK has grown substantially in the last twenty years. Most of this growth has been in the private rented sector.

Home ownership by country of birth of household reference person

Related posts