Owner occupation remains by far the most common form of housing tenure in England and there were an estimated 14.6 million owner occupiers in 2008, down slightly from 14.7 million in 2007. But whereas, from 2000 to 2006, owner occupation had accounted for just over 70 per cent of households in England, its share in 2008 was slightly lower at 68.3 per cent.
Much of the decline in the proportion of owner occupiers may be attributed to an increase in the size of the private rented sector, from 2.7 million in 2007 to nearly 3.0 million in 2008. Private renting accounted for 13.9 per cent of all households, its biggest share since the 1970s.
The proportion of younger households (those aged under 30) with a mortgage fell from 40 per cent in 2001 to 32 per cent in 2008; whilst over the same period the proportion of younger households in private renting rose from 33 per cent to 45 per cent.
13 per cent of households with a mortgage reported that at some time in the previous 12 months they had been in arrears or had experienced some other difficulty in paying the mortgage.
For certain household groups, over 30 per cent reported arrears or difficulties. These groups were: unemployed households, those with at least one sick or disabled member, and those who had previously been repossessed.
There were around 565,000 overcrowded households in England - about 2.7 per cent of all households. London was the region with the highest overall rate of overcrowding (6.8 per cent); it also had the highest of regional rates for individual tenures: 3.0 per cent of owner occupiers; 12.7 per cent of social renters and 9.8 per cent of private renters in London were overcrowded.
In 2007/08, 24 per cent of social renters and 56 per cent of private renters said that they expected to become homeowners eventually. Of these, 28 per cent of the private renters said they expected to buy within the next two years, compared to 12 per cent of the social renters.