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New research has revealed that the number of rental properties within the UK property market has climbed by over 1.1m in the last decade, placing the UK in the top 10 globally when it comes to the balance between homeownership and renting.

Ocasa analysed current dwellings stock to find what proportion of the UK property market is accounted for by the rental sector, comparing this to other global nations, as well as looking at how this balance has shifted in the last 10 years.

The analysis shows that a decade ago, there were just shy of 27.5m total dwellings across the UK property market. With almost 9.4m rental properties, the UK rental market accounted for 34.2% of all dwellings.

Mortgages for Business – MPU

Fast forward a decade and this proportion has shifted, with even more of us reliant on the rental sector in order to put a roof over our heads.

The latest figures show that there are now over 29.5m dwellings across the UK market, a 7.5% increase versus 10 years ago.

However, the number of rental properties now stands at over 10.5m, meaning that this area of the market has not only seen a larger rate of growth at 12.2%, but it now accounts for 35.7% of total UK dwellings.

While a 1.5% increase in market share may not sound that significant, it means that there are now over 1.1m more rental properties across the UK than there were a decade ago.

But how does this market balance compare to other global nations?

Well this 35.7% rental market share places the UK at number 10 in the list when it comes to the nations with the largest reliance on their respective rental markets.

Switzerland sits top where the rental sector accounts for 57.7% of the overall property market, with Hong Kong (50.2%) and Germany (49.6%) also ranking high.

Other nations to rank ahead of the UK include Austria, Turkey, South Korea, Denmark, Japan and France.

Head of Sales and Marketing at Ocasa, Jack Godby, commented:

“Not only has the high cost of homeownership forced many to remain within the rental sector until far later in life, but we’re starting to see a generational change whereby the freedom and convenience that renting provides is becoming the preferable method of living for many.

You need only look at the changing face of the property market for proof of this shift, with the rental sector increasing at a greater rate when compared to other dwelling types over the last decade.

We’ve also seen a clear acceptance of this trend from the industry itself, with the emergence of the build-to-rent sector focussing solely on the delivery of better rental homes for tenants to occupy on a far longer-term basis.

This is a change that is only going to grow more prominent in the future and we expect renting to become the norm for many more people until far later in life than we’ve traditionally seen in the UK.”

Table shows the total number of all properties in each year and the annual change
Nation Dwelling stock – 2010 Dwelling stock – 2020 Change (n) Change (%)
England 22,838,672 24,657,900 1,819,228 8.0%
Wales 1,375,186 1,437,567 62,381 4.5%
Scotland 2,482,327 2,605,108 122,781 4.9%
Northern Ireland 750,349 807,812 57,463 7.7%
UNITED KINGDOM 27,446,534 29,508,387 2,061,853 7.5%
Table shows the total number of rental properties in each year and the annual change
Nation All rentals – 2010 All rentals – 2020 Change (n) Change (%)
England 7,877,627 8,886,639 1,009,012 12.8%
Wales 391,497 434,857 43,360 11.1%
Scotland 883,574 965,993 82,419 9.3%
Northern Ireland 225,105 234,265 9,160 4.1%
UNITED KINGDOM 9,377,803 10,521,754 1,143,951 12.2%
Table shows the proportion of total dwellings accounted for by the rental market in each year
Nation Proportion – 2010 Proportion – 2020
UNITED KINGDOM 34.2% 35.7%
Table shows the balance between homeownership and renting in each foreign nation
Nation Home ownership rate Rental rate est Difference
Switzerland 42.3 57.7 -15.4
Hong Kong 49.8 50.2 -0.4
Germany 50.4 49.6 0.8
Austria 55.3 44.7 10.6
Turkey 57.9 42.1 15.8
South Korea 58.0 42.0 16.0
Denmark 59.3 40.7 18.6
Japan 61.2 38.8 22.4
France 64.0 36.0 28.0
Sweden 64.5 35.5 29.0
New Zealand 64.6 35.4 29.2
United States 65.4 34.6 30.8
Australia 66.2 33.8 32.4
Israel 66.5 33.5 33.0
Luxembourg 68.4 31.6 36.8
Canada 68.6 31.5 37.1
Cyprus 68.6 31.4 37.2
Netherlands 69.1 30.9 38.2
Ireland 70.3 29.7 40.6
Finland 70.7 29.3 41.4
Belgium 71.1 28.9 42.2
Iceland 73.6 26.4 47.2
Greece 74.6 25.4 49.2
Slovenia 74.6 25.4 49.2
Italy 75.1 24.9 50.2
Spain 75.1 24.9 50.2
Portugal 77.3 22.7 54.6
Czech Republic 78.9 21.1 57.8
Norway 80.8 19.2 61.6
Latvia 81.2 18.8 62.4
Estonia 81.4 18.6 62.8
Malta 81.9 18.1 63.8
Bulgaria 84.3 15.7 68.6
Poland 85.6 14.4 71.2
Macedonia 85.9 14.1 71.8
Serbia 86.0 14.0 72.0
Lithuania 88.6 11.4 77.2
Russia 89.0 11.0 78.0
Montenegro 90.2 9.8 80.4
Singapore 90.4 9.6 80.8
Croatia 91.3 8.7 82.6
Hungary 91.3 8.7 82.6
Slovakia 92.3 7.7 84.6
Romania 96.1 3.9 92.2
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