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English home ownership 'no longer falling'

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A decline in the number of people owning their own home in England appears to have levelled off, according to government figures.

The 2014-15 English Housing Survey says that, after falling for 10 years, the figure has steadied at about 63% of all households.

The figures suggest there was a tiny rise, but it is too small to draw any firm conclusions.

The number of home owners now stands at 14.3m, more than half of those having no mortgage.

"The proportion of all households in owner occupation increased steadily from the 1980s to 2003 when it reached a peak of 71%," says the report.

"Since then, there has been a gradual decline in owner occupation. However, the recent decline seems to have abated."

By contrast the number of people renting privately fell to 4.3m, the first fall in 17 years.

However, experts said not too much should be read into one year's figures.

"The short term trends shown in the latest English Housing Survey need to be treated with caution, given the reported fall in private renting in 2014-15 follows a particularly large increase in the preceding year," said Lucian Cook, head of Savills UK residential research.

"Behind the short-term volatility, levels of private renting among under 35s are still up by over 1 million in the past decade."

Correction 8 March 2016: This report has been amended to clarify that, while the survey did indicate a small rise in owner occupation, it was not statistically significant enough to draw any firm conclusions.