The ageing baby boomer generation are paying off their mortgages in greater numbers, meaning more home owners in England than ever before own their home outright.
Figures from the annual English Housing Survey (EHS) for 2017 shows that 63 percent of homes in England are privately owned but more than half of those properties are owned outright. The all-time high of home ownership was 71 percent in 2003.
According to the survey, there are 14.4 million households in England. Now in its ninth year, the EHS examines people's housing tenure - the legal status by which someone lives in a property - and also looks at the condition and energy efficiency of English homes.
In the last three years, the number of outright owners has outstripped the number of people who hold a mortgage. In 2013-14, 31 percent of households were mortgagors, a figure that fell to 28 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, 34 percent of all homes are owned outright, a figure the survey attributes to the retiring baby boomer generation who are paying off their mortgages.
Rise of 'generation rent'
The rise of "generation rent" is reflected starkly in the figures with fewer people aged between 25 and 44 owning a property.
The EHS describes the drop in proportion of 25-34 and 35-44-year-olds in owner occupation as "particularly pronounced". In the decade to 2016-17, the number of home owners in those age brackets has fallen from 72 percent to 52 percent. There has been a corresponding rise in private renting in those same age groups.
The survey noted: "While owner occupation remains the most prevalent tenure for this age group, there has been a considerable increase in the proportion of 35-44-year-olds in the private rented sector (11 percent to 29 percent). The proportion in the social rented sector did not change.
"While the under 35s have always been overrepresented in the private rented sector, over the last decade or so, the increase in the proportion of such households in the private rented sector has been particularly pronounced.
"In 2006-07, 27 percent of those aged 25-34 lived in the private rented sector. By 2016-17, this had increased to 46 percent. Over the same period, the proportion of 25-34 year olds in owner occupation decreased from 57 percent to 37 percent."