The energy efficiency of English homes has considerably increased over the last 20 years, but slowed in recent years, according to the latest English Housing Survey 2018-19. 

The English Housing Survey, a national survey of housing circumstances which has been running since 1967, also revealed positive news for young homeowners and progress being made on reducing the number of non-decent homes in the UK.

Energy Efficiency Improvements

Today’s release of the English Housing Survey showed progress is being made in making more homes environmentally-friendly. 

The number of homes with an SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) rating of A to C energy efficient has increased from 9% to 34% since 2008, and in 2018 the average SAP rating of English dwellings was 63 points, up from 62 in 2017. Moreover, the proportion of dwellings in the lowest F and G bands fell from 14% to 4%.

There has also been an increase in the number of smart meters in homes: 22% of dwellings with mains electricity were using a smart meter in 2018, up from 15% in 2017. 

The findings are positive for a plenitude of reasons. Not only can upgrading your home’s energy rating make a difference for lowering carbon emissions and tackling climate change, but it can also increase your home’s value by up to £25,000. And a recent study on energy efficiency in homes revealed the benefits of greater education for homeowners whose properties waste less energy.  

Home Ownership for 25-34 Year Olds

Other findings included 41% of 25-34 year olds now owning their homes, an impressive turnaround considering that between 2003-2014 the proportion in owner occupation of this age group dropped from 59% (2003) to 36% (2014). 

Interestingly though, home ownership was down to 55% among those aged 35-44, compared to 67% in 2008-09.

Despite more young people reportedly being homeowners, Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, urged the importance of lowering house prices further. 

“Falling home ownership among the young still threatens to become a national crisis rooted in high property prices and stretched affordability but the tide has finally started to turn,” he said.

Significant Improvement in Homes Standards

Moreover, the number of non-decent homes – defined as homes considered to meet the Decent Homes Standard – fell to 18% in 2018, a significant improvement on 33% in 2008.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Govt said: “The number of non-decent homes has continued to decline – but we are committed to eliminating it entirely and in the private sector we are cracking down on rogue landlords to increase standards.”

One notable negative from the report was the increase in overcrowding in the renter sector, up from 5% in 1998-99 to 8% in 2018-19. Conversely, the under-utilised space in owner-occupied properties has risen amongst homeowners from 42% to 52% in the past 20 years. A 2019 study revealed the average homeowner over 50 is sitting on over £56,000 of empty space.

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey MP said of the report: “The Conservatives didn’t want to talk about housing ahead of the general election and the Government’s own statistics show why. These figures confirm that the number of younger home-owners has fallen dramatically since 2010, with over 800,000 fewer households under 45 now owning their own home, and the number of recent first-time buyers is falling.

“After 10 years of failure on housing […] Labour will not let the Tories get away with having no plan to fix the country’s housing crisis.”

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