Buy to let has a 19% slice of the UK housing market – but the private rented sector has stood still for the past six years.

The market first hit the 19% mark in 2013-14 and has not changed in size since, although the number of young adults renting has shrunk slightly, according to the latest official data.

The English Housing Survey for 2018-19, published by the Ministry of Housing, says 4.6 million homes are rented.

The number of 25 – 34 year olds renting peaked at 48% in 2013-14, but has fallen to 41%.

Over the same time, the number of older renters, aged 55-64 years old has risen from 7% to 10%.

The overview of housing in England also suggests up to 6% of private renters live in overcrowded homes, compared to just 1% of home owners but 8% in social housing.

Around one in four private rented homes fail the Decent Homes Standard, against 12% of social rented homes and 17% of private homes.

Housing standards have generally improved, with fewer hazards. The number of private rented homes with the worst risks to tenants has dropped from 31% to 14% between 2008 and 2018.

At the same time private rented homes have become more energy efficient.

“Over the past 10 years, there was a significant increase in the proportion of households with children in the private rented sector, from 30% in 2008-09 to 37% in 2018-19,” says the report.

“Between 2008-09 and 2018-19, the number of households with dependent children in the private rented sector increased by about 765,000. Over the same period there has been little difference in the proportions of households with children in the social rented sector.

“The proportion of households consisting of a lone person sharing with other lone persons (house sharers) was higher in the private rented sector (10%) than among owner occupiers (2%) and social renters (2%).”