After hitting its peak in of 71% in 2003, the UK owner occupier rate has fallen 3% to currently stand at 68%.
Spain has seen the largest drop in home ownership, with the current rate 10% below the peak of 92% achieved in 2002.
In the US, home ownership has been fairly modest, falling two percentage points from its peak of 69% in 2004.
Despite the drop in house prices, RICS believes the combination of tight lending constraints and a uncertain economic environment points to a further shift in tenure in the UK over the next few years.
It expects owner occupier rates to edge lower at the expense of private lettings.
Himanshu Wani, economist at RICS, says: “The downward trend in owner occupier rates that started in the middle of the last decade looks set to continue.
“With first-time buyers struggling to take an initial tentative step on housing ladder partly because of lenders demands for larger deposits, more potential purchasers are likely to choose the rental option.
“The latest RICS UK lettings survey shows tenant demand continues to increase and that this is now feeding through into rising rents.”