Almost a quarter (21.9%) of the population of London currently live in rented accommodation, according to Ascend Properties. 

Across England, the second greatest number of people living in rental accommodation is in Yorkshire and the Humber at 19.7%.

Looking to the greatest increases over the last decade, the North West noted the largest uptick at 3.8%, and Yorkshire and the Humber by 3.6%.

Just 4% of consumers switched mortgage provider in 2020

Meanwhile, the South East saw the smallest increase in the proportion of people renting, up 0.7%.

Overall, the number of people residing within the rental sector has increased by 3%, from 16.4% a decade ago, to 19.4%.

This increase represents a further 1.022 million dwellings with an average of 2.3 people to a property, which means there are now an estimated 2,360,495 more people living in the rental sector.

Furthermore, the research shows that owner occupied properties make up 63.9% of the current market, with private rentals accounting for 19.4%, and properties rented through housing associations or local authorities accounting for 16.7%.

Ged McPartlin, managing director of Ascend Properties, said: “There’s no doubt that we are seeing a shift towards a preference to rent, if not indefinitely, then certainly until a later stage of life.

“This is being driven by issues surrounding housing affordability, with property values continuing to climb at a far higher rate than available earnings, which is causing aspirational homeowners to save for longer in order to get a foot on the ladder.

“However, we’re also seeing a societal change in terms of our attitudes towards renting and the freedom and flexibility it provides.

“You need only look at the phenomenal growth of the build to rent sector in recent years which has been driven by the sheer demand for rental properties designed specifically for purpose.

“Repurposed housing stock is largely inadequate for the modern resident and doesn’t fully meet their needs with regard to space, living standards or the additional aspects that a build to rent property can provide, such as social areas and on-site amenities and community spirit.

“As the build to rent sector continues to grow in size, it will become increasingly more likely that residents will opt to remain in the rental sector and we expect to see this increasing rental market share seen over the last decade continue to gather serious pace in the future.”