Okay that's more than a small change to the classic phrase, 'An Englishman's home is his castle', but when it comes to the UK, Britain's are still a nation of home-owners.
Britain is still a nation of home-owners and we are no exception in Hillingdon.
It is interesting to note that up until the mid to late 1960’s, more people rented their home, mostly from the local council, rather than owning their own property. In fact in 1921, over 75% of homes in England and Wales were privately rented with the remaining 25% being owner occupied.
It was only after the Second World War, with the building boom of Labour’s Clement Atlee government and followed by Churchill’s conservatives, that people started to buy instead of rent, but instead of owning our property outright, we borrowed money from banks and building society’s to buy them and the roots of the growth of the private rental sector can be drawn back to the late 1970’s early 1980’s, when the council houses began to be sold off under the right to buy scheme.
In Hillingdon in 2001 72% of property was owner occupied, but this had declined to 64% by 2011. Quite the decrease! So in Hillingdon a few years back almost two thirds of us lived in homes we own, one way or another. Also nearly 30% of us in Hillingdon were mortgage free households, compared to almost 20% in Slough and about 25% in Watford.
The number of households in Hillingdon grew by 3.7% in that period. That’s another 3,500 new households in the area created in the last ten years. That can be as a result of families coming into the area, relationship breakdowns or new households being created when people leave home.
How has the Hillingdon rental market changed?
In 2001 the rental market was 11% of housing and this has jumped to 18% in 2011. In real terms that is 7,300 more households in rented accommodation than the 10,800 rented in 2001. A real shift in behaviour and massive growth in the rental market. Sometimes people looking at numbers are accused of over blowing small differences, but that is genuinely a real shift!
The number of households in Hillingdon has grown by 3,500 but a lot of this rented property has come with housing moving from private ownership to the private rental market. This is likely due to a combination of reasons;
People renting their homes out and then living elsewhere. If your employer moves you, you may wish to stay invested in the London property market so it makes a lot of sense to let your house and rent another property nearer your new work.Straight forward investment by landlords, perhaps with an eye to their pension or future property for their family.
Of course there are many more reasons, after all every household and landlord is unique.
Is Hillingdon unusual in this move to renting?
In a word, no. Take Watford up the road, where the share of people renting has gone from 11% to 20%, and Ealing from 18% to 27%. This is a national trend but we are ahead in greater London. Predictions are always hard, but continued growth of the rental market to 25% by the next census does not look unrealistic does it…..?
Has social renting shrunk and the private market filled this gap in Hillingdon?
Again no, the numbers don’t show that. In 2001, 16.7% of households rented from the housing authority or a social landlord, and in 2011 this was still steady at 16.8%. But of course the reduction in social homes really came in the 80’s and 90’s.
With stagnation in the number of people who own their home in Hillingdon, this is increasing the number of people looking to renting, as everyone needs a roof over their head. A process which continues today.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom in Hillingdon, as we have noticed more and more of the younger generation are renting, largely because they can‘t afford to buy - raising a deposit being the sticking point for most. Also, a high percentage of the expansion in private renting is due to those who need and want temporary accommodation, where traditional home ownership makes less sense. There are even a few landlords who rent their own Hillingdon property out for the short term, for ease, and not necessarily just for profit.
Therefore, with every report stating the rental market will continue to grow throughout the rest of this decade, with high demand and limited supply in the Hillingdon, if you are considering buying a property for investment in the near future in Hillingdon, I am always happy to give you my considered opinion on which property to buy (or not as the case may be) to give you what you want from your investment. If you are a landlord, new or old, I am certainly more than happy for you to pick up the phone or visit me at our office on Hillingdon Hill near the Red Lion pub or St John's Church.