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Housing

The Housing theme shows the importance of housing in understanding poverty and inequality, in particular, comparing measures of poverty before and after housing costs. This demonstrates the significant challenge of housing affordability faced by Londoners. The theme also assesses wider measures of the extent to which housing fails to meet the needs of Londoners, including those who are homeless.

This page brings together a series of maps using data from our London borough comparison tile.

Boroughs have been labelled higher, lower, or mid (average) according to threshold values of one standard deviation above or below the mean of all the borough values.

Number of children in poverty by housing tenure in London (2004/05 - 2021/22)

Since 2004/05, the number of children in poverty in London who live in private rented accommodation has increased almost threefold to its current level of 280,000 in 2021/22. The proportion of children in poverty in London who live in the private rented sector has increased from 16% in 2004/05 to 41% in 2021/22.

While the number of children in poverty in this group has increased, the poverty rate within this group has decreased over the years; in 2004/05 the poverty rate for children in private rented accommodation in London was 56% and in 2021/22 it was 46%.

The number of London children in poverty living in the social rented sector fell sharply between 2006/07 and 2011/12 (falling by more than 100,000). However, numbers steadily rose until 2019/20 and even though there’s been a decline in 2021/22 the poverty rate amongst this group is st…

Distance of Residential Moves Out of London (1997-2020)

An experimental dataset from the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) comprehensively charts residential moves throughout the UK, shedding light on changing patterns and distances over nearly a quarter of a century (1997-2020). It does this by linking name and address changes recorded in consumer registers.

Here we have mapped the median distances of residential moves into and out of each of London’s boroughs, averaged over the entire 24-year timeframe. These patterns reveal how far people move when they decide to relocate inside or outside the capital. The maps reveal striking differences between east and west London, and between its outer and inner boroughs.

The ‘moving out’ map highlights behaviour of residents of Kensington & Chelsea who, along with the few residents of the City of London, on average travel furthest when relocating…

Number of households London boroughs owe homelessness duties to by type of duty (2002/03 - 2022/23)

The nature and scope of duties owed by local authorities to homeless households changed considerably with the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act (2017) (HRA), which came into force in 2018. Whereas previously local authorities only had statutory duties towards households that were classed as being in “priority need” because, for example, they contained children or a pregnant woman, the HRA puts the following duties on local authorities:

  1. Prevention duty: Local authorities owe prevention duties to help stop households at risk of homelessness losing their accommodation.
  2. Relief duty: If a household is homeless, the local authority owes them a relief duty to provide some sort of accommodation.
  3. Main duty: The main homelessness duty to provide accommodation (which until 2018 was the only statutory duty owed to homeless households) come…

Outcomes of homelessness initial assessment per 1,000 households (2022/23)

What does this indicator show?

When a household becomes homeless, or is at risk of homelessness, their local authority owes them a duty. There are three main types of homelessness duties: 

  1. Prevention duty: Local authorities owe prevention duties to help stop households at risk of homelessness losing their accommodation.
  2. Relief duty: If a household is homeless, the local authority owes them a relief duty to provide some sort of accommodation.
  3. Main duty: The main homelessness duty to provide accommodation (which until 2018 was the only statutory duty owed to homeless households) comes into effect when the relief duty has failed and accommodation has not been secured.

Graphs on this page show how many people were owed homelessness duties in London compared to the rest of England - and what the outcomes of these duties were.

What does it tell us?

A…

Homelessness duties owed by London boroughs (2023 Q3)

This indicator looks at the three types of statutory duties that local authorities owe households at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Prevention duty

Local authorities owe prevention duties to help stop households at risk of homelessness losing their accommodation.

In the third quarter of 2023, Ealing owed the most households a prevention duty, at 3.65 per 1,000 households.

Relief duty

If a household is homeless, the local authority owes them a relief duty to provide some sort of accommodation.

Brent was the borough that owed the most households a relief duty, at 3.91 per 1,000 households compared to the London average of 2.17.

Main duty

The main homelessness duty to provide accommodation (which until 2018 was the only statutory duty owed to homeless households) comes into effect when the relief duty has failed and accommodation has not bee…

Average annual net housing completions in London boroughs (2020/21 - 2022/23)

What does this indicator show?

This indicator shows the number of net housing completions in London boroughs, on average, per year. This means the number of new homes built, minus the number of old homes demolished. We can also see how many of the new homes built in each borough are affordable, social or discounted, and how many are built for the private market.

What does it tell us?

Across the whole of London, on average, there were 37,768 new homes added to the housing stock in London per year between 2020/21 and 2022/23. A majority (69%) were for the private market and an average of only 1148 completions per-year were made for social rented properties.

The boroughs completing the most new homes were Tower Hamlets, Brent and Newham. However, boroughs vary greatly in both their size and in the availability of development opportunities. Boro…

Tenure types of London households over time (1961-2020)

The proportion of London households which are owner-occupied has increased since the 1960s. Rates of home ownership peaked at 57.2% in 1991, before stabilising between 49% and 53% in the last decade.

A similar trend is found amongst households that were socially rented, which peaked in 1981 at 34.8%. In the following decades, the proportion of socially rented households has slowly fallen to 20.7% in 2020.

The trend for privately rented households went in the opposite direction in the 1980s until the early 2000s. Starting at 45.5% in 1961, the proportion of private rented households was its lowest point at 13.9% in 1991, after which, the proportion increased rapidly until 2011 (26.4%) and is now 26.6%.

Proportion of households in temporary accommodation in London boroughs (2023 Q3)

Temporary accommodation by borough

Every borough in London, except Hounslow, has a higher proportion of households living in temporary accommodation than the average in England.

Newham has by far the highest rate of households in temporary accommodation - for every 1,000 households, 50.25 are living in temporary accommodation. Other boroughs with high rates include Redbridge (26.89 per 1,000 households), and Southwark (26.05 per 1,000 households). In contrast Hounslow (3.26 per 1,000 households) and Merton (4.51 per 1,000 households) have some of the lowest rates.

Housed in different local authorities

Sometimes local authorities will provide temporary accommodation outside of their area. This is particularly common in London, where local authorities face the twin challenges of greater demand for homelessness services and more expensive accom…

Rent for a one bedroom dwelling as a percentage of gross pay by London borough (October 2022 to September 2023)

In every London borough the average rent for a one-bedroom home on the private market is at least one third of median pre-tax pay in London. The average cost for a one-bedroom home is the equivalent of almost half (46%) the gross-median pay in London.

The least affordable boroughs are Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, where it costs 75% and 73% respectively of the median London pay to rent a one-bedroom home on average. Outer London boroughs including Bexley, Havering, and Sutton have the lowest average rents, at around a third of earnings. In England as a whole, the average one-bedroom property is a quarter (25%) of average earnings.

Monthly rent by sector in London and England (2022/23)

Rent is much more expensive in London than in the rest of England, across all sectors.

A one-bedroom home in the lower quartile of the private market (i.e. a property that is more affordable than 75% of others in London) cost £1,100 in 2022/23 - compared to £560 in the rest of England.

The median monthly rent for a one-bedroom home in London was £1,280 in 2022/23 and £720 in the rest of the country. At £700 per month for affordable housing and £450 for social rent, non-market tenures are cheaper than the private sector. They are, however, still more expensive in London than in the rest of the country.

Private rents have increased significantly since 2009/10, rising by 31% in London, after taking account of inflation. This is faster than the 28% rise in rents seen in the rest of England. Social rents were increasing at a similar rate until 2…

Proportion of households in London that are overcrowded by tenure (2011/12 - 2021/22)

The extent to which housing in London meets household needs can be measured in a range of ways. One of those is overcrowding. Here this is defined using the “bedroom standard”. For example, a home is considered overcrowded if two or more people of a different sex (who are not a couple) over the age of 10 need to sleep in the same room.

On this measure, 7.9% of households in London are overcrowded.

Social rented housing has the highest proportion of households in overcrowded conditions, with 16.4% overcrowded. This contrasts with just 1.9% of owner-occupied households. 11.8% of private rented households are overcrowded.

Although there is variation by tenure type, overcrowding overall has remained the roughly same in London over the last 10 years, with 7.9% of households overcrowded in 2020/21 compared to 8.3% in 2011/12. Social rented househ…

People sleeping rough in London by country/continent of origin (2008/09 - 2022/23)

The number of people sleeping rough in London more than tripled between 2008/09 and 2020/21 from around 3,472 to 11,018. 2021/22 saw the number fall back somewhat to 8,329 but it increased again in 2022/23 to 10,053.

Most people sleeping rough are white, although across the time series the number of BAME people sleeping rough has risen faster than the number of white people. Of the people whose country/continent of origin is known, just under half are British citizens, with people from the rest of Europe making up most of the rest. A large majority (83%) of people sleeping rough in London are men.

More people sleep rough in Central London than in any other part of the capital. This is consistently the case, but the proportion of people sleeping rough who do so in Central London reducing over the 15 year period from more than three quarters…

People seen sleeping rough by outreach workers by borough (2022/23)

People sleeping rough by London boroughs

Number of people in London in poverty by housing tenure (2004/05 - 2021/22)

The raw numbers of people counted as being in poverty are at similar levels for both social renters (810,000) and private renters (780,000), whereas those living in owner occupied housing who are in poverty are far fewer in number at 530,000.

Poverty rates are highest for those in social rented housing (49%), compared to 31% of those in privately rented, and 11% of owner occupiers. 

If we look at the split of housing tenures of just people in poverty in 2021/22, we can see 38% are in social rented, 37% are private rented and 25% are owner occupied housing. In 2004/05 only 22% of people in poverty lived in privately rented housing. This means the number of Londoners in poverty living in the private-rented sector has increased by 65% - a very significant shift.

Read our explainer for how poverty is measured here.

Read our analysis of the lates…

Proportions of people in poverty before and after housing costs (2022/23)

What does this indicator show?

Poverty can be measured both with and without housing costs taken into account. Housing costs can include rent or mortgage payments, building insurance and water rates.

This indicator shows the percentage of people in poverty in London and the rest of England - after and before housing costs are taken into account. By looking at poverty rates before and after housing costs, we can see how much of an impact housing costs have on pushing people into poverty.

What does it tell us?

In London, poverty rates increase significantly when housing costs are accounted for, increasing the poverty rate from 14% to 24%. In the rest of England, the difference is much smaller, increasing the percentage of people in poverty from 17% to 21%. This shows that, compared to the rest of England, high housing costs are a much more sig…

Proportion of people in poverty over time after housing costs (1996/97 - 2022/23)

Last updated: May 2024
Next estimated update: May 2025

What does this indicator show?

This indicator shows the poverty rate in London (after housing costs) over the years. We can also see how this compares to the poverty rate in the rest of England.

What does it tell us?

A quarter (24%) of Londoners live in households that are in poverty (after housing costs - AHC), meaning that 2.2 million Londoners lived in poverty in 2022/23. The poverty rate (AHC) in London is 3 percentage points higher than in the rest of England. This is the lowest the poverty rate (AHC) for London has been since the current measure began in 1996/97.

The proportion of households in poverty after housing costs (AHC) was relatively stable between 1996/97 and 2019/20:

  • In London, poverty rates varied between 27% and 30%; and
  • in the rest of England, poverty rates varied between…

Median Monthly Rent for Private 2-Bed Properties (2020)

London's private rental market is large and complex, with rent forming a large part of the the cost of living for many Londoners. How does rent vary across the city, and have there been any changes across the last year, particularly as lockdown and social restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic may have made some rental areas less attractive and some more so?

Rents often parallel house prices as landlords seek to offset mortgage costs and maximise their profits, so the characteristic 'prime central London' of super-expensive apartments in much of Zone 1 are replicated in high rents, while rates fall moving away from the accessible centre towards less well connected suburbs.

But there are some anomalies as the map above of median monthly rents charged on private 2-bed properties by postcode district shows. Hotspots for rental…

Housing costs as proportion of net income for households in poverty (2022/23)

Last updated: May 2024
Next estimated update: May 2025

What does this indicator show?

This indicator shows how much of a household’s income is spent on housing costs - split by households in poverty and not in poverty. 

What does it tell us?

Households living in poverty are spending a significantly larger proportion of their net income on housing costs than households not living in poverty. This is true both in London and in the rest of England. 

London households in poverty are estimated, on average, to spend 54% of their total net income on housing costs. In comparison, those living in households which are not in poverty spend just 11% on average. 

The trend is similar in the rest of England with households in poverty spending 32% of their income on housing compared to 8% for those not in poverty, but the gap is much smaller than in the capit…

Total repossessions by county court bailiffs in London boroughs (2022 Q4 - 2023 Q3)

The most recent data reflects four quarters, up to Q3 of 2023. However, since evictions were paused during the pandemic, we have retained the 2019 data for reference.

In 2022/23, the rate of repossessions continued to remain lower than in 2019 across almost all boroughs, with the exception of Redbridge and Richmond upon Thames. However, as was the case before the pandemic, there were differences in the rate of repossessions between boroughs.

The highest rates of repossessions were recorded in Newham, with 3.53 repossessions per 1,000 households and Redbridge with 3.28 per 1,000 households. Newham had one of the highest rates of repossessions before the pandemic as well, with 4.50 repossessions per 1,000 respectively in 2019. The lowest rates of repossessions in 2022/23 were recorded in Southwark (0.55 per 1,000 households) and Camden (0.65…

Types of court repossession in London (2003-2023 Q3)

The total number of repossessions in London during the first three quarters of 2023 was 5,301, including 2,376 Section 21 ("no-fault") evictions. This is compared to 1,919 repossessions through the whole of 2020 when evictions were paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most schemes introduced during the pandemic have ended and repossessions remain lower than pre-pandemic years. However, there's been a trend of increasing repossessions since, nearing the levels seen before the pandemic.

Between 2015 and 2019, the total number of repossessions in London fell by more than 50%. This fall was primarily driven by the reduction in landlord accelerated repossessions - the route taken by private landlords to regain possession of a property after a Section 21 (a so-called “no fault”) eviction. At the end of 2019, this type of reposses…

Temporary accommodation types in London (2002-2023 Q3)

Local authorities, including London boroughs, have legal duties to provide accommodation to people who are homeless. Whilst they are waiting for a permanent solution - such as a home provided by a housing association - local authorities must house them in temporary accommodation. This can be many types of accommodation - such as nightly accommodation, the private rented sector or a bed and breakfast. 

Temporary accommodation over time

Over the last 20 years, the number of households in temporary accommodation has fluctuated over time. After the peak of 63,000 in 2005, the number of households in temporary accommodation drastically decreased up to 2011, when 36,000 households were in temporary accommodation. However, between 2012 and 2020 this number has steadily increased to reach levels close to 2004. In 2020, 60,888 London households wer…

London poverty rates before and after housing costs (1996/97 - 2022/23)

Last updated: May 2024
Next estimated update: May 2025

What does this indicator show?

Poverty can be measured both with and without housing costs taken into account. Housing costs can include rent or mortgage payments, building insurance and water rates.

This indicator shows the percentage of people in poverty in London and the rest of England over the years - after and before housing costs are taken into account. By looking at poverty rates before and after housing costs, we can see how much of an impact housing costs have on pushing people into poverty.

What does it tell us?

The proportion of people living in poverty in London increases significantly when housing costs are taken into account rising from 14% to 24%. 

This gap between before and after housing costs measures of poverty is much larger in the capital than in the rest of the countr…

Changes in IMD status for households moving into London (1997-2016)

The primary reason people move homes is to improve their life prospects – but it is too simple to think of this purely in terms of the physical or social characteristics of destination neighbourhoods. Quality of life can depend upon things like proximity to family, friends, work, and venues for socialising. London offers all of these and more.

It may be too simple to think of residential moves as part of a quest to move to a less deprived neighbourhood, but it is likely to be a factor.

These two novel maps combine several Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) datasets to show how neighbourhood deprivation factors into patterns of residential moves – for people moving from outside the Greater London boundary and for London residents moving within the city. To do this, CDRC uses a composite index of multiple deprivation (IMD) to compare score…