Buy to let has mushroomed from 10% of homes in the 1990’s to grab a 20% share in the latest English Housing Survey from the government’s Office of National Statistics.

Essentially, the report reveals the number of buy to let homes has doubled since 2003.

The latest figures for 2015-16 show that 4.5 million homes are privately rented, outstripping social housing, which has a 17% slice of all homes – which adds up to 3.9 million households.

During the same time, home ownership has declined.

At the peak in 2003, private home ownership accounted for 71% of all homes, but has rapidly dropped to 22.8 million households and 63% of the market since then.

Meanwhile the number of families privately renting as climbed by 950,000 over the past decade, highlighting both a shift away from families buying their properties and a decline of 123,000 in the number renting social housing.

Buy to let households with children have increased from 30% (1.35 million) of the total to 36% (1.62 million).

Other highlights from the report show private renting is the most expensive way to pay for a home.

Buy to let tenants spend an average 35% of their monthly income on rents, compared to 28% renting social housing and 18% for homeowners with mortgages.

Overcrowding is also an aspect of renting the government wants to investigate.

Tenants report 7% of social housing and 6% of buy to let homes are crowded, compared to 1% of privately owned properties.

The survey also shows that in 2015-16, the level of households buying with a mortgage fell to 29% – the rate peaked at 43% in the 1990s – and buy to let has outstripped buying a home in London but private ownership remains the favourite option for the rest of the country.

Interestingly, almost 64% of private renters have remained in their property for more than 3 years. This shows that despite there being no minimum term required in law, the reality is that the majority of private renters stay for a good number of years.

Length of time in private rented sector

Click here to read the full report