Did you feel the rentquake?

There’s a rentquake in English market towns, and we’ve barely noticed.

A new analysis sheds light on the ‘rentquake’ which has taken place across England since the start of the millennium. It shows that a growing proportion of people across all corners of our country are privately renting. While homeownership remains the preferred tenure for many, it has become ever more out of reach – and our stock of social housing has declined. This is important because, right now, the loss of a privately rented tenancy is the number one cause of homelessness.

It’s worth repeating, because it’s the elephant in the room when it comes to the housing crisis. This worrying fact is rarely acknowledged and yet a central issue in the ongoing housing crisis. In 2018, a far greater proportion of the adult population are at risk of homelessness than in 2001. The national picture shows a startling change in our population’s housing. Since the start of the century the proportion of adults living in the private rental sector (PRS) has more than doubled, from 11% of the adult population in 2001 to 28% now. Meanwhile, home ownership plummeted from 73% of the population to 59%.

This all points to the biggest domestic tenure change for residents in all corners of England since the end of the Second World War.

In predominantly rural Sedgemoor, the private rented sector has increased by 23%. That mirrors South West cities like Exeter (25%), Bristol (25%), Bath & North East Somerset (23%) and Swindon (21%).