Trends in housing in our towns

This 2018 report from the Centre for Towns presents housing trends over the last three decades in town centres and cities, drawing on historical data from the UK Census (1981-2011) and the House Price Index. It finds, whilst the number of homes has increased by almost a third since 1981, there are regional and town type differences in housing trends. Population changes also have an impact, such as the ageing of our towns.

Date added 30 March 2021
Last updated 30 March 2021

This Centre for Towns report presents housing trends over the last three decades in town centres and cities, drawing on historical data from the UK Census (1981-2011) and the House Price Index. It finds, whilst the number of households in Britain has increased by 31.2% 1981-2017, there are regional and town type differences in housing trends, with some lagging behind these national averages. The following key findings are presented in the resource, alongside tables and figures:

  • The North East, North West, and Wales have seen growth in households below the national average (e.g. Oldham, Sunderland, and Urmston).
  • Towns in the South East, South West, and East of England have instead seen growth above the national average (e.g. Milton Keynes, Bicester, and Swindon).
  • New towns (+57%), commuter towns (+41%), and market towns (+40%) experienced the highest growth in households.
  • Ex-industrial (+21%), university (+27%), and coastal towns (+28%) experienced the lowest growth in households.
  • Towns growing older have seen largest decreases in average household size.
  • Home ownership has fallen most in core cities and larger towns, with private rental increasing in these places since 2001 (e.g. Nottingham +190%, Manchester +156%, and Bristol +179%).
  • Home ownership has increased most in commuter towns in the South East and East of England.
  • House prices have increased higher in London and core cities than smaller town centres.

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