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Knight Frank: Sixth of UK population currently rent in the private sector

New figures reveal that the proportion of the UK’s population renting in the private sector has doubled since 2000, with landlords cashing in on ‘buy-to-let Britain’.

The proportion of the UK’s population living in rented accommodation has doubled since 2000, new figures from Knight Frank reveal.

According to the property group, some 10 million people, a sixth of the UK’s population, now live in housing rented from private landlords – and further growth is predicted.

The figures show that 17% of the UK’s households currently rent in the private sector, more than double the 8% level where it stood through much of the 1990s.

The significant increase in private renting began at the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008.

Knight Frank put this down to more controlled mortgage lending and “a mix of the scrapping of rent controls, the proliferation of buy-to-let mortgages and rising prices in relation to earnings”.

The report focused on major urban centres including London, Leeds, Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham.

The rising number of private tenants was much more palpable in expensive areas including London, where the proportion of households renting privately has more than doubled from below 10% in 2001 to over 20% in 2011.

In what will come as good news for those interested in buying property, Knight Frank said total returns to landlords stood at an average of 11.3% for the year ending December 2013.

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