Government releases leasehold numbers

The ministry of housing, communities and local government has issued statistics on the number of leasehold dwellings in England across 2016 to 2017.

The ‘experimental official statistics,’ meaning that government is still undergoing an evaluation of the methodology and quality of output, show that the number is unchanged from 2015 to 2016.

The report states that there were an estimated 4.3 million leasehold dwellings in England across the time frame, or 18 per cent of the country’s total housing stock.

Breaking the data further down, 2.3 million of these, or 54 per cent, were of the owner-occupier type, and 1.7 million – or 40 per cent – were privately owned and let out to tenants. The remaining 244,000, or 6 per cent, were owned by social landlords and let out to the appropriate renters.

Additionally, the report shows that 2.9 million – 67 per cent – of these were made up of flats, and the remaining 1.4 million were houses.

The controversial leasehold issue has heated up in recent months, with the government recently announcing that it is withdrawing funding for ‘unjustified’ new leasehold houses, and the Law Commission proposing ‘radical’ reforms for leaseholders of all flats and houses.

Furthermore, a recent study carried out by NAEA Propertymark showed that most home buyers regret entering into a leasehold contract.

On this statistical release, NAEA Propertymark chief executive Mark Hayward comments: “Although the government recently announced a consultation to improve the leasehold sector and crack down on unfair practices for new properties, today’s figures show that thousands of homeowners are already trapped… homeowners across the country are facing increasing ground rent charges, fees for making alterations to their properties, and in some cases, they are unable to sell their homes.

“Buying a home is a big undertaking, and those who buy a new build are often under the impression that buying something brand new means it will be perfect. Unfortunately, though, that isn’t the case and most buyers have no idea about the trappings of a leasehold contract until it’s too late. This should never have been allowed to happen, so as an industry it’s time we listened to the victims and sought a robust solution for all those affected.”

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