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Three bedroom homes the most common across England and Wales

Three quarters of household reference persons aged 65-74 are owner occupiers, the most of any age group

The 2011 Census shows that there were 23.4 million households in England and Wales. The majority, 15 million (64%), were owner occupied, bought either outright or through a mortgage. The remaining 8.3 million (36%) were rented, either privately from a landlord or letting agency, or from a social landlord such as local authorities, housing associations, housing co-operatives or charitable trusts.

The most common number of bedrooms for all households in England and Wales was three, accounting for 42% of the 23.4 million households. Around 28% of homes had two bedrooms, 14% had four bedrooms, 12% had one bedroom1 and 5% had five or more bedrooms.

Owner occupied homes tend to have more bedrooms than rented homes, with 74% of owner occupied households having at least three bedrooms, double that of rented households (37%). This is similar to what is observed for households owned outright or through a mortgage compared to those privately or socially renting. This suggests that people are more likely to purchase homes with three or more bedrooms, than rent such homes.

Most of the 23.4 million households in England and Wales, 79%, live in a house2, with 21% living in a flat. Owner occupiers were more likely than those renting to live in a house, with 91% living in a house compared with 56% of those renting.


Percentage of household reference persons (HRPs) aged 25 to 34 who are owner occupiers falls

Looking at the household reference person (HRP), which is the oldest full-time worker in most households or a person chosen from the household based on their age and economic activity status, the majority were between the ages of 35 to 64, accounting for 56% of households across England and Wales.

Looking at differences between HRPs who are owner occupiers and renters, for those aged 16 to 24, the majority (87%) rented, with just 13% being owner occupiers. The percentage of owner occupiers increases with age, peaking at 76% for those aged 65 to 74 and dropping marginally to 73% for those aged 75 and over.

For HRPs aged 25 to 343, the percentage of owner occupiers declined from 58% in 2001 to 40% in 2011, suggesting a decline in first time home buyers, who would usually be within this age group.

Looking at the employment status of HRPs, owner occupiers were more likely to be in work than those renting, with 68% of owner occupiers in employment, compared to 57% of those renting.

Home ownership and renting across England and Wales

This is a short video on home ownership and renting across England and Wales using information from the 2011 census.

In 2011, there were 23.4 million households and of these 15 million were owner occupied; broken down into 7.2 million that were owned outright, and 7.8 million that were owned through a mortgage.  8.3 million homes were being rented; broken down into 4.2 million privately rented and 4.1 socially rented.

If we look at the accommodation type for the different types of household, the majority of owner occupiers, or 91%, live in houses; but for those renting there is a more equal share living in houses and flats, with 56% living in houses and 44% living in flats.

Looking at the number of bedrooms; twice as many owner occupier households have 3 or more

1Households with one bedroom include those who indicated having no bedrooms in their census responses.

2The accommodation category ‘house’ includes a whole house or bungalow, while a ‘flat’ includes flats, maisonettes, caravans and other temporary mobile structures.

3Variations in age bands used in grouping HRPs between the 2001 and 2011 censuses have made the data incomparable, except for age groups 25 to 34, which are consistent in both years.

Categories: Population, Population Estimates, Population Estimates by Age and Sex, People and Places, Households, Number of Households
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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