Census reveals big rise in private renting in Enfield

Home ownership on the decline as rising house prices put mortgages out of reach for many

New-build homes in Canning Square, Enfield
New-build homes in Canning Square, Enfield

The number of people living in the private rental sector in Enfield has shot up over the last decade, new Census 2021 data reveals.

The latest tranche of statistics to be published from the 2021 Census of England and Wales looks at people’s housing circumstances and shows that there has been a nationwide drop in home ownership.

In Enfield in 2021, 53.4% of people either owned their home, had a mortgage on their home, or were living in shared ownership. This figure is down from the 58.8% recorded in 2011. This fall in home ownership mirrors the rise in private renting, with 29.5% living in the private rental sector in 2021 in Enfield compared with 22.2% in 2011.

Across England and Wales as a whole, there were five million private renters in 2021, representing 20.3% of households, which is up from 3.9 million (16.7%) in 2011. Nearly all London boroughs have recorded a higher-than-average number of private renters.

Fast rising house prices, far outstripping wage increases, have been blamed for the fall in home ownership rates and corresponding rise in renting. In Enfield the average house price, according to website Rightmove, is now £563,126. This is up 4% in the last year.

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The other main type of housing tenure is social rent, with the 2021 Census showing a decline of people living in social rent homes over the last decade from 17.6% in 2011 to 17% in 2021. A recent investigation into temporary housing by the Dispatch found that the number of council-owned social rent homes in the borough has been steadily declining since the mid-1990s, when there were just over 15,000 such homes in Enfield, compared with under 11,000 now.

Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director of the housing campaign Generation Rent, argues tenants “face a much greater risk of living in a poor-quality home, and live with the threat of eviction at short notice”. The campaign group is calling on the government to recognise the need for reforms in the sector to give better protection for renters from negligent landlords and to give them more long-term security.

A Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: “Ensuring a fair deal for renters remains a priority for the government, that’s why we will deliver on our commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and introduce a renters reform bill in this parliament.”

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