Rural Housing Week – private rent vs social rent statistics


sarah brooke-taylor


In 2020-21, the private rented sector accounted for 4.4 million or 19% of households, no change from 2019-20.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the proportion of private rented households was steady at around 9% to 11%. While the sector has doubled in size since the early 2000s, the rate has remained around 19% or 20% since 2013-14.

The social rented sector, at 4 million households (17%), is smaller, following a longer-term downward trend.

The composition of the social sector has changed in the last decade. In 2010-11, the social rented sector accounted for 17% of households with 9% (2 million) renting from housing associations and 8% (1.8 million) renting from local authorities. In 2020-21, more households (10% or 2.4 million) rented from housing associations, and fewer (7% or 1.6 million) from local authorities.

On average, those buying their home with a mortgage spent 18% of their household income on mortgage payments, whereas rent payments were 27% for social renters and 31% of household income for private renters.

Source: English Housing Survey Headline Report 2020-21