On 25th May, the Conservatives have claimed on their Facebook page that:

Home ownership is on the rise

This is likely to be misleading, as the owner occupancy rate in England has remained unchanged in four years — according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

In short

The level of home ownership rose: The estimated number of owner-occupied households in England marginally rose from 14.3m in 2015-16 to 14.4m in 2016-17.

The proportion was unchanged in four years: The estimated proportion of owner occupancy slightly fell from 62.9% in 2015–16, to 62.6% in 2016–17.

The English Housing Survey is commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and conducted by NatCen Social Research.

Published in January 2018, the primary finding from the 2016–17 headline report was that:

Owner occupation rates remain unchanged for the fourth year in a row.

The rate of owner occupancy peaked at 71% in 2003, and has gradually declined to its current rate of 63%.

The rate of households in owner occupation has remained steady since 2013–14.

The level of English households owned by people living there did rise, from 14.3m in 2015–16 to 14.4m in 2016–17.

The total number of households in England also increased: from 22.8m in 2015–16 to 29.1m in 2016–17.

The composition of owner occupiers has radically changed, with more people owning their homes outright, and fewer buying the property with a mortgage.

Those owning the property outright have recently overtaken those buying with a mortgage.

When the total level changes, it is important to look at proportions.

This blog looks at the use of statistics in Britain and beyond. It is written by RSS Statistical Ambassador and Chartered Statistician @anthonybmasters.

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