Housing Conditions in the UK

A snapshot of housing conditions throughout the UK

A new BRE Trust report, The Housing Stock of The United Kingdom, combines the findings of housing condition surveys in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in a single UK-wide report.

With a legacy of massive house building during the industrial revolution, the UK’s housing stock is the oldest in Europe – probably the world – and is only very slowly being replaced. Older homes often present challenges when making them healthy, safe and suitable for the future. Housing condition surveys offer the detailed information needed to inform the targeted and costed housing policies required to deliver better homes.

Surveys in the four UK nations are conducted separately over different timescales, with different sampling criteria and survey instruments. However, the key information they use to describe housing in the four nations is comparable, and in 2017 the four surveys were – for the first time in nine years – all being conducted during the same year.

This presented the opportunity to gather the published findings from these four surveys and combine them into a single recently published report, The Housing Stock of The United Kingdom, to provide UK-wide information on:

  • dwelling age and type, size, construction, materials,
  • tenure,
  • indicators of housing quality and condition,
  • heating, fuel type, insulation and energy efficiency,
  • the cost of poor housing.

The new report comments that:

UK housing stock is changing very slowly over time and it is clear that substantial replacement by newbuild is not an option. Improving our existing dwellings does not, however, need to be overly expensive and has multiple benefits to society as a whole, both economic and social. It is also more sustainable.”

This UK-wide report also gives insights into the differences between the four nations’ housing stocks, and will help to answer with the regular calls for statistics on UK housing for comparisons with other countries – a task that is not straightforward when using four separate surveys. The new publication follows the earlier Housing in the UK, which used data from the national surveys when they last aligned in 2008.

Read the Report