Much of the news about housing figures concentrates on the growing number of households in England who are renting in the private sector compared to the decline in the number of owner-occupiers. In 1991 there were 13 million owner-occupiers and 1.8 million private renters. There were also 4.4 million renting in the public sector.
Now the situation is rather different.
Although the number of owner-occupiers has risen to 14.8 million, private renters have risen to 4.7 million with public renters down to 4 million.
In percentage terms private renters have gone from 9% to 20% of the total.
There is much talk therefore of building more houses yet is this not a question of not more houses but what type of tenure is preferable?
Two issues stand out here:
1) the reduction in public sector housing numbers
2) the quality and nature of the private rented sector.
Should policymakers look at building more public sector housing or ensuring that private renters have a fair deal.