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Owner occupation declines for first time in England

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26/03/2007

The number of owner-occupied properties in England has fallen for the first time since official records began in 1939.

There were 14.62 million owner-occupied homes in England last year, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), which is 25,000 fewer than in 2005 because of the decreasing number of people buying a home with a mortgage.

The total number of households rose to 20.8 million, with more people in public or private rental accommodation.

“We have had 1.8 million more homeowners since 1997,” said housing minister Yvette Cooper. “The only way to ease the pressure on first-time buyers is to build more homes.”

Property expert John Mitchell said: “For once I agree with the Government on this issue as there are simply not enough homes in the UK to accommodate everyone who lives here now.

“The drop in owner-occupation is really a reflection of this problem and if there was a supply of affordable housing in this country the figures for owner-occupation would be a lot higher.

Bernard Clarke of the Council of Mortgage Lenders said: “Steeply rising prices have been a key factor in the drop in owner occupation, but our data shows there has been no decline in the popularity of homeownership.”

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