SAB - the property specialists

Leading Cambridgeshire, hertfordshire
and London property specialists since 1959


January 05, 2015

Britain becomes a nation of renters

Home ownership levels in Britain are about to fall behind France for the first time after a decade-long surge in buy-to-let lending that has pushed more people into the rental sector. Figures from Europe's official statistics bureau showed that the proportion of owner-occupied homes in France almost caught up with the UK in 2013 and was on track to overtake Britain last year for the first time since Eurostat started compiling the data in 1995. Kate Barker, a former Bank of England rate-setter, says the transformation of Britain's housing market was due to tougher mortgage standards making it harder for people to borrow. "That has meant there has been a rise in buy-to-let," she said, as landlords tend to have larger deposits or other properties from which to draw funds. Departmental figures also show that the vast majority of new housing in the UK since the turn of the millennium has been bought by landlords. Between 2000 and 2012, the private rented sector has accounted for some 2.5m of the extra homes. Only 400,000 have been bought by occupiers. Meanwhile, a study from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association has warned that: "If current trends in tenure continue, two decades from now for the first time since the early 1970s the majority of Britons will rent their home.”