British Property Federation says demand for rental homes is 25% higher than for home ownership

Demand for rental housing in the UK market is 25% higher than demand for ownership, according to figures released by the British Property Federation.

The BPF is now calling for the government to recognise the professional rented sector as a solution to the housing crisis, rather than build more homes to buy.

It warns that with a looming credit shortage and millions at risk of repossession, a “workable alternative” to ownership should now be considered.

Rupert Dickinson, chairman of the BPF’s residential committee and chief executive of Granger, said: “Ministers need to wake up to the reality that no matter how many new homes we build, there will continue to be a huge affordability gap between what people earn and can afford to spend on a house.

"It’s time that we took the professional rented sector seriously as a viable alternative to ownership.”

The Department for Communities and Local Government launched a review of the rental sector in January, to be headed by Dr Julie Rugg of York University.

Ian Fletcher, BPF director for residential policy, said: “By commissioning Julie Rugg to review the professional rental sector, the government has shown a commitment to addressing our concerns over the barriers faced by investors and the problems encountered by tenants.

The issue will be debated at the BPF’s residential conference, held today, at which representatives of government, the private sector and housing associations will speak.