The rise of the private rented housing sector in Warwickshire

11th March 2014

Nationally, one of the key headlines from the 2011 Census has been the reported rise in the 2011 Census Logoproportion of privately rented homes.

Warwickshire has been no exception to the trend and between 2001 and 2011 the county saw the number of privately rented homes double from 14, 809 in 2001 to 29,628 in 2011. The proportion of homes being privately rented increased in the same period from 7.0% to 12.8%.

A similar trend was experienced across all districts and boroughs in the county. This pattern of increase is illustrated in the graph below.

Proportion of privately rented homes 2001 to 2011

private renting graph

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough and Rugby Borough both saw the number of privately rented homes increase by 150%. Both boroughs, along with Warwick District, recorded proportional shift in private renting which were higher than the county average.

Warwick District records the highest levels of private renting at almost 17% of homes. In part, this is likely to be a reflection of higher student numbers in the district and higher numbers of young professionals in the area. Indeed, the top three Lower Super Output Areas in the county with the highest levels of private renting are all in Warwick District:

  • Leamington Town Centre 1 (Clarendon ward) 54.7%
  • Leamington Town Centre 2 (Clarendon ward) 48.8%
  • Old Town North West (Willes ward) 47.1%

The 2011 Census also shows higher rates of private renting are evident in particular types of household. Key points include:

  • One in four single person households where the occupant is under 65 are privately rented
  • A quarter of all lone parent households with dependent children privately rent their homes.
  • Full-time students record the highest rates of private renting at 91%
  • Rates of private renting are particularly low (under 5%) in households where the occupant are 65 years or older.
  • Ethnic group variations in rates of private renting are evident with some categories recording higher rates; This is illustrated in the the graph below. Of those aged 25-35, around 70% of the ‘other white’ category privately rented their homes compared with 30% of the same aged resident in the ‘White British’ category. Higher rates (55%) were also evident among the ‘Black African’ and ‘Mixed White and Black African’ categories.
  • Around 22% of residents who privately rent their homes do not have access to a car. This is a lower rate than those in social rented homes (40%)  but higher than those who own their own homes (5.6%)

ethnic group graph

Source: 2011 Census, 2014. *Refers to Household Reference Person 

The rise  in privately rented homes is part of a wider shift in patterns of housing tenure generally which in Warwickshire has seen increasing numbers of homes owned outright but declines in both the number of socially rented and mortgaged properties. The rapid rise in the number of privately rented homes since 2001 and decline in mortgaged properties could be linked to the economic climate in recent years where access the the housing market is more restricted. A combination of higher average house prices, tighter lending requirements and declining wage growth may all have contributed to the higher demand for rented accommodation.

More local factors such as the presence of students in some areas, young people and more transient communities who may find it easier to access private renting than home ownership will also help to explain patterns of housing tenure in Warwickshire.

Private renting of homes carries with it a number of potential implications including issues relating to rent levels, security of tenure and housing quality. The above analysis indicates that some communities in Warwickshire, notably students, lone households, lone parent households and some ethnic groups may be more vulnerable to these issues because of the higher levels of private renting evident in those groups.

For further information about the 2011 Census or comments/suggestions for future areas of interest, please contact the Observatory at