One in five private renters ‘would have bought a home already if they could’

A view of properties in London, where median rents are among the highest in the UK. Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Just under a fifth of private renters (18% ) in England and Wales would have ideally bought a home already if they could, according to a survey.

Around three-quarters (76%) of private renters want to buy at some point in the future, the research for the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) found.

Rents have spiked in parts of the UK in recent months amid rising inflation, as many landlords hiked prices in response to rising costs and demand, and mortgage repayment increases.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan was among leaders calling for the government to hand local authorities powers to impose a rent freeze, as the capital's private tenants weathered the biggest rent hikes "since records began."

A social housing rent cap was being considered by the government to prevent some of the country's lowest income tenants facing unaffordable increases in monthly payments, amid the cost of living crisis.

According to the NRLA survey, one in 10 (10%) private renters surveyed said they had bought a home previously.

Nearly three in 10 (29%) private renters said they wanted to remain in the sector, when thinking about the next 12 months.

One in eight (12%) want to buy a home during the next 12 months and believe they are in a position to do this, the survey found.

More than two-fifths (45%) of private renters want to buy their own home during the next 12 months but believe they cannot do so.

Some private renters said that not having enough income was a reason they had not been able to buy a home and some cited a lack of job security.

Not having a sufficient deposit and waiting to see if house prices will fall were also given as reasons why people had not yet bought a home.

When asked what they like most about renting, 45% selected convenience and a third (33%) selected flexibility.

Asked about what they like the least, 43% selected the cost and a third (33%) selected insecurity of tenure.

The survey also found that 41% of private renters rated the affordability of their rents as excellent or good while a further 38% rated it as fair.

Just under a quarter (23%) of private renters wanting to buy, meanwhile, said the affordability of their rent was poor or fairly poor.

The report used a survey of 2,000 private renters in England and Wales by Opinium.

The report concluded: “It is clear from the new survey evidence that a significant number of people – including younger people – want to live in the PRS (private rental sector) at the current point in their lives, even if they aspire to become homeowners.”

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA said: “Today’s report makes clear the positive and vital role the rental market has to play in the economic and social life of the country.”

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