People Are Renting in Western Europe
Copyright Simple2rent Ltd 2011
Since the 1980s there have been significant changes in the choices
people are making in whether they wish to rent or own their house, flat
or apartment. In the early 1980's West European countries averaged
between 50% and 60% of homes owner occupied as opposed to rented.
However as years progress into the early 2000s there have been some very
significant changes with most countries seeing a significant reduction
in the number of properties rented. Some of the most significant changes
in the percentage of properties rented in Western Europe are:
From 1980/81 to 2001/02
UK from 42% to 30%
Luxembourg from 39% to 26%
Netherlands from 58% to 46%
Spain from 21% to 11%
One possibility for this trend is the increasing standards of living
combined with market changes improving the choice and availability of
financial products to purchase properties. However also to be considered
is the very significant differences when comparisons are made across
countries. Below is a summary of the most recent data found on the
percentage of homes rented for each country.
Germany (ex FRG) 55%
Germany (ex DDR) 66%
United Kingdom 30%
One possible conjecture is that countries with a higher percentage of
property in the rental sector may have higher workforce mobility. For
example Germany may have significantly higher workforce mobility, in
contract Spain may have relatively low workforce mobility with only 11%
of properties in the rental sector.
The data available on property to rent across Western Europe raises many
questions however one factor very evident is the definite trend for a
shift from rental to owner occupied homes. For landlords and real estate
letting agents who have properties to rent this may also suggest that
competition will increase to find tenants. However there are other
factors to consider such as the type of rental property.
For example the UK rental sector can be split into three main
categories, these are Council (e.g. Government owned), Housing
Associations (often charitable trusts) and Private (e.g. private
landlords and investors). In 2003 the Private sector accounted for 35%
of rental properties in the UK, and this percentage is increasing as
more people invest in private rental property.
Overall it is difficult to draw precise conclusions however taking the
UK example there are some specific factors, firstly overall rental
housing has reduced significantly from the 1980s when it was 43% of
total housing to 2005 where it was around 30% of housing. Secondly
there has been an increase in private rental properties, particularly
within the last 10 years. The private sector now accounts for nearly
40% of rental housing and almost 10% of total housing in the UK, around
2.4 million homes. This increase in the private rental market has
understandably led to the proliferation in services such as
http://www.simple2rent.co.uk to support private landlords and
letting agents. One of the questions for private investors to consider
is what are the future prospects for the housing market?
Simple2rent.co.uk is publishing further articles to explore this area.