Bird and Co explore the recent ONS statistics, breaking down the percentage of home ownership in each region in England. Who’s on top?
The UK housing market is currently under unwavering pressure, with house prices and rent charges continuing to rise. Even still, UK citizens are not shying away from home ownership, with many seeing this as a key pillar of life.
The real question is, how many people in the UK are homeowners as opposed to renters? Do some regions have a higher percentage of home ownership than others? If so, which regions are seeing more homeowners than others?
To find out, we analysed February 2022 figures from the Office for National Statistics to uncover the UK’s current home ownership rate. The study compared the number of homes owned – either outright or by a mortgage – against the overall number of properties in each local authority in England. This then provided an overall percentage figure.
In this breakdown of the stats, we explore some of the areas in the UK where home ownership is at its highest and lowest.
Which regions have the highest and lowest levels of home ownership?
The study separated England into nine distinct regions, those being:
- North East
- North West
- Yorkshire and the Humber
- East Midlands
- West Midlands
- East of England
- South East
- South West
Each of these regions comprises of many different local authorities. The South East has the highest number of local authorities (64), while the North East has the lowest (12).
Based on the results of the survey, a percentage of homeowners was revealed for each local authority. These figures can then be combined, providing an overall figure for each wider region in the UK.
The levels of home ownership in each region are as follows:
- East Midlands – 69.4% home ownership
- West Midlands – 68.7% home ownership
- South East– 68.5% home ownership
- East of England – 68.2% home ownership
- South West – 67.7% home ownership
- North West– 66.5% home ownership
- Yorkshire and the Humber – 65.2% home ownership
- North East – 60.8% home ownership
- London – 50.9% home ownership
As we can see, on average, the Midlands has the highest rate of home ownership in England, followed closely by the South East, the East of England, and the South West. On the other end of the spectrum, London, perhaps unsurprisingly, has the lowest rate of home ownership in England, some 10% less than the next lowest, the North East.
These figures throw up a number of interesting discussion points, mainly the various potential reasons for which these home ownership rates stand as they are. Whether it be house price, income, age or rental price, we explore these reasons here:
Does average house price affect home ownership in each region?
According to HM Land Registry, the average house price across the whole of the UK at the end of 2021 was £274,712. This was a 10.8% increase on the previous year.
It would be a natural and logical assumption that the higher the average house price in a region, the less people will be able to afford to buy rather than rent.
That hypothesis is certainly true with regards to London. The average property price in the Capital stands at £521,146, a huge increase on the national average, which corresponds with the fact that home ownership sits at 50.9% here.
Further to this, the region with the highest level of home ownership in England, the Midlands, also falls in line with this theory. The average house price in the West Midlands is £238,238 and the East Midlands is £235,004, both below the national average. So, it stands to reason that the region would have comparatively high levels of home ownership.
However, this theory does not necessarily apply to all regions in England. Take the North East, for example. The latest statistics show that the region has the lowest average house price in England at £147,214; well over £100,000 less than the average. Despite this, it comes out as the region with the second lowest rate of home ownership, surpassed only by London in this regard.
Yorkshire and the Humber follows a similar pattern. It has the second lowest average house price in England (£196,877), but also has the second lowest level of home ownership.
This would suggest that there are a number of additional factors at play which may have a huge impact on peoples’ ability to purchase homes in different regions, aside from the value of the properties themselves.
Does average income affect home ownership?
As with the average house price for each region, a fairly simple hypothesis can be made for average income. The latest ONS figures for gross disposable household income (GDHI) indicates that the average sits at £21,433. Most people would tend to agree with the notion that those with a higher income are more likely to be homeowners, but is this the case?
Immediately, the figures of some regions support this hypothesis. South East England has the third highest level of home ownership in England and has the second highest GDHI at £24,715.
In addition to this, the East of England and South West have the fourth and fifth highest rates of home ownership respectively. The South West has the fourth highest GDHI in England (£21,222) and the East of England has the third highest (£22,392).
On the other end of the spectrum, but still supporting this hypothesis, GDHI in the North East is the lowest in the country at (£17,096), matching the fact that the region has the second lowest levels of home ownership. This may serve to explain the lack of ownership, despite house prices being so low.
However, as with the average house prices, not all is as it seems when it comes to the relation between home ownership and income. For instance, the West Midlands has one of the highest rates of home ownership in England, yet has the second lowest GDHI (£18,350).
London is an anomaly in this sense, but that is likely down to the fact that house prices are so far above the average that incomes are not able to effectively offset the difference.
Does average age affect home ownership?
The higher the average age of a region, the more people you would expect to own a home, as opposed to renting. This is due to a number of factors, including the general position someone is likely to be at in their lives at certain ages, the time it takes to save up for a deposit, and the likelihood of being accepted for a suitable mortgage.
London has the youngest average age of any region, at 35.8 years old, which may provide further explanation as to why it’s the region with the lowest level of home ownership. Given that London is the financial centre of the country, there are likely to be much more people living in the region of an average working age, substantially bringing down this average.
However, there are no other discernible patterns with regards to age and home ownership. The West Midlands has the second lowest median age in England, at 39.6 years old, yet has one of the highest levels of home ownership. Meanwhile, Yorkshire and the Humber has the third lowest median age and has the third lowest level of home ownership.
Does average rental price affect home ownership?
It would be a reasonable argument to suggest that levels of home ownership would be directly influenced by rent prices in each region. In theory, the lower the rent prices in an area, the lower the level of home ownership (because renting for a long period of time would remain a sustainable financial solution).
Again, London is an outlier in this regard. Rental prices in London are the highest in England (£1,757), yet home ownership is the lowest.
Taking a closer look at the other regions in England, a few conclusions can be drawn, which support and reject the idea that rental prices have a direct impact on home ownership.
The North East is one region which supports the notion that lower rental prices lead to lower levels of home ownership. Rental prices in the North East are the lowest in England (£583) and are £319 less than the average for the whole of the UK. With this, home ownership in the region is the lowest in England, outside of London.
Similarly, Yorkshire and the Humber has the second lowest average rent price in England (£730) and also has the second lowest levels of home ownership, outside London.
Flipping the script, the South East has second highest average rental prices in England (£1,139), and also has the third highest levels of home ownership.
One region which does not fit with the narrative that lower rental prices lead to lower rates of home ownership would be the West Midlands. The rental prices in the West Midlands sit at £800, £269 below the national average, while home ownership is, on average, one of the highest in the country.
Which local authorities had the highest rates of home ownership?
As previously mentioned, the home ownership rates were also calculated for each individual local authority within each region. The following are the top ten local authorities for ownership (with many coming in joint positions):
1. Castle Point (82%, East of England)
2. Rochford (81%, East of England)
3. Staffordshire Moorlands (80%, West Midlands)
3. Oadby and Wigston (80%, East Midlands)
4. Wokingham (79%, South East)
4. Blaby (79%, East Midlands)
4. Fareham (79%, South East)
5. South Ribble (78%, North West)
5. Broadland (78%, East of England)
5. Harborough (78%, East Midlands)
5. Bromsgrove (78%, West Midlands)
5. Wealden (78%, South East)
6. Maldon (77%, East of England)
7. Wyre (76%, North West)
7. Rushcliffe (76%, East Midlands)
7. Hinckley and Bosworth (76%, East Midlands)
7. Brentwood (76%, East of England)
7. Epsom and Ewell (76%, South East)
7. Hart (76%, South East)
8. Tandridge (75%, South East)
8. New Forest (75%, South East)
8. Surrey Heath (75%, South East)
8. Mid Suffolk (75%, East of England)
8. Lichfield (75%, West Midlands)
8. South Staffordshire (75%, West Midlands)
8. Ribble Valley (75%, North West)
9. South Lakeland (74%, North West)
9. East Riding of Yorkshire (74%, Yorkshire and the Humber)
9. Gedling (74%, East Midlands)
9. South Derbyshire (74%, East Midlands)
9. Solihull (74%, West Midlands)
9. South Norfolk (74%, East of England)
9. Tendring (74%, East of England)
9. Havering (74%, London)
9. East Devon (74%, South West)
9. Horsham (74%, South East)
9. Mole Valley (74%, South East)
9. Waverley (74%, South East)
9. Rother (74%, South East)
9. Arun (74%, South East)
10. Adur (73%, South East)
10. East Hampshire (73%, South East)
10. Sevenoaks (73%, South East)
10. Reigate and Banstead (73%, South East)
10. Eastleigh (73%, South East)
10. Lewes (73%, South East)
10. Elmbridge (73%, South East)
10. Chorley (73%, North West)
10. Cheshire East (73%, North West)
10. Selby (73%, Yorkshire and the Humber)
10. Craven (73%, Yorkshire and the Humber)
10. Amber Valley (73%, East Midlands)
10. South Holland (73%, East Midlands)
10. Derbyshire Dales (73%, East Midlands)
10. North Warwickshire (73%, West Midlands)
10. Malvern Hills (73%, West Midlands)
10. Stratford-on-Avon (73%, West Midlands)
10. Broxbourne (73%, East of England)
This means that each region has a percentage of local authorities which are among the top ten for home ownership in England:
- South East – 31.3%
- East Midlands – 28.6%
- West Midlands – 26.7%
- East of England – 20%
- North West – 15.4%
- Yorkshire and the Humber – 14.3%
- South West – 3.4%
- London – 3%
- North East – 0%
This presents a number of potential talking points.
Given that the South East has the third highest level of home ownership, only narrowly behind the East and West Midlands, it isn’t too surprising to see that it has the highest proportion of local authorities within the top ten. The East and West Midlands sit in second and third place on this metric which would suggest that, while they do not have as many local authorities with extremely high levels of home ownership, there is a parity between different authorities right across the region.
This contrasts strongly with the South West. Despite the fact that the region has the fifth highest level of home ownership in England, it has the third lowest proportion of local authorities in the top ten. This suggests that there is a wide difference between the highest and lowest local authorities, despite it being a relatively small region.
It stands to reason that London and the North East - the two regions with the lowest home ownership - would have the lowest proportion of local authorities that are in the top ten for home ownership. The North East doesn’t have a single authority within the top ten bracket, while London has one (Havering).
Home ownership rates are high across the board
With highs of 82% (Castlepoint, East of England) and lows of 40% (Manchester, North West), there’s a huge disparity in home ownership rates across the country. Not to mention the even lower lows in London of 28% in Hackney.
It’s unclear what “home ownership” truly means, and whether these statistics include second homes. In this case, there’s still plenty more digging that can be done surrounding these figures.
Although it also isn’t clear what reasoning there is to explain home ownership rates in England, what is apparent is that home ownership across the board is relatively high. Apart from in London, where house prices are incredibly high, the average home ownership rate in England is 67%. However, we still have a long way to go before home ownership is at a level we can be proud of as a nation.
The data presented in this article has been taken from the Office for National Statistics, HM Land Registry, Rightmove, HomeLet, and Statista.
All figures used in this study are as up to date as possible, taken from an official document or study published between 2020 and 2022. Time frames between sources may vary slightly, but all publication dates can be found via the link to each independent data source.
To figure out the percentage of homes owned, we took the total number of homes owned and divided it by the total number of homes in the area. We then ordered these percentages from largest to smallest to ascertain which regions in England ranked highest and lowest.
Although this data was sourced via reputable sources, its interpretations are that of the Bird & Co researchers.
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