The private rented sector in England remains larger than the social rented sector and it continues to maintain the hold in the housing market, according to the English Housing Survey (2015-16) Headline Report released by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

In 2015-16, the private rented sector accounted for 4.5 million or 20 per cent of the total households (22.8 million households) in England. The social rented sector accounted for 3.9 million households or 17 per cent of total households. There was no change in the size of either sector between 2014-15 and 2015-16, the report observed.

While the number of families in the private rented sector increased, the number of families in the social rented sector decreased over the last decade. The proportion of households in the private rented sector with children increased from 30 per cent to 36 per cent between 2005-06 and 2015-16. Given the sizeable growth in the overall number of private renters over this period, this increase equates to about 945,000 more households in the private rented sector with children. 

Of the total households, about 14.3 million or 63 per cent were owner occupiers. The proportion of households in owner occupation increased steadily from the 1980s to 2003 when it reached its peak of 71 per cent. Since then, owner occupation gradually declined to its current level. However, the rate of owner occupation has not changed since 2013-14. Owner occupation rates remain unchanged for the third year in a row.

These findings clearly indicate that the private rented sector in England is poised for growth, as the demand for quality rentals increases.