Housing tenure over time

Date 1 September 2017
Date updated 6 October 2017

Tenure trends

What does this chart show?

After large changes in the tenure mix in the previous decades, the past five years have not seen significant changes in the proportion of Londoners living in each tenure.

Levels of private renting in this decade are the highest seen since the 1970s. In 2016, 880,000 or 27% of households lived in private rentals. This is still far below the proportion that were private renters in the 1960s (around 45%).

The rise in the share of households living in the private rented sector over recent decades was simultaneous to a fall in social renting over the 1980s and 1990s. In 2016, 740,000 households or 23% lived in this tenure. The peak for this tenure occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s, before Right to Buy was introduced. In 1981, 35% of all London households lived in social housing.

The proportion of households that own their home rose every decade between 1961 and 1991. It remained stable for a decade, with 57% of London households in this tenure in 1991 and 2001. The proportion then declined between 2001 and 2011. In 2016, 1.6 million households, or 50% of Londoners, owned their home.

Tenure mix 2016

As you can see in this graph, the tenure profile in Inner London is fairly evenly split between owner-occupied (38%), social rented (32%), and private rented households (31%). In Inner London in 2001, only 20% of households lived in private rented property.

Outer London, by comparison, has a significantly higher proportion of owner-occupied households at 59%, with a smaller social rented sector (16%), making the private rented sector the second largest tenure (24%), although this is still a lower share than in Inner London.

Outer London is closer to the profile for the rest of England, which has a greater proportion of owner-occupied households (67%) and slightly lower proportion of private rented households (17%).