A million properties transfer to landlords

Sarah Davidson

November 9, 2015

Over two million homes have changed tenure in the past decade when taking into account all property sales between owner- occupiers and landlords.

Some 1,550,000 properties have gone from being lived in by their owner to being lived in by a tenant, while 550,000 have moved the other way, from the private rented sector into owner occupation.

This has resulted in an extra million homes being occupied by a tenant rather than a homeowner, equivalent to the number of households in the North East of England.

Homes transferring from owner occupation into the private rented sector accounted for half of the growth in the number of privately rented homes over the same period. Most of the remaining growth in the private rented sector has come from landlords buying new build homes.

Some 700,000 new homes built since 2005 have found their way into the private rented sector. The remaining homes changing tenure have come from social housing and residential conversions.

Despite this, homes are only around half as likely to change tenure as people. First-time buyers end up buying 65% of the homes that leave the private rented sector, and last year 45,000 first-time buyers bought their home from a landlord, the highest number since the market downturn in 2008.

This equates to 15% of all those who got onto the housing ladder for the first time. With first-time buyers and landlords tending to look for homes which are smaller and cheaper than average, they often find themselves in competition. As a result, both groups are disproportionately likely to sell homes to one another.

Given the private rented sector is largest in London and the South East, this is where first-time buyers are mostly likely to buy their home from a landlord. One in five new buyers in London, and one in six in the South East, bought a home which had previously been rented out.

It is in these two regions where the difference between what new buyers paid when buying from a landlord and those that didn’t is greatest. Those buying from a landlord paid on average 8% less than those that didn’t.

Johnny Morris, director of research at Countrywide, said: “The rapid growth of the private rented sector has to come from somewhere, while the tenure may change, the physical home remains. The sector has been growing since 2005 but the number of homeowners has fallen in each of the past 10 years.

“This scale of shift in tenure shows that the current push from the government to increase the number of homeowners is unlikely to be enough to reverse the decline.

“Although landlords and first-time buyers might not appear natural bedfellows, because they tend to look for similar types of homes they do end up selling to each other. Many landlords face a choice 10 to 15 years after buying a home, between refurbishing the property or selling it.

“Those landlords who choose to sell up offer an opportunity to first-time buyers willing to put some work into their first home, often adding to its value.

“Rents grew by 4.8% over the year, supported by the imbalance between growing tenant demand and constrained supply of homes to rent. The usual seasonal factors are seeing small month on month falls after as the summer rush continues to subside.”

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