How many homes there are

Since not everyone lives in a house, the universal term for a self-contained place someone lives in is called a ‘dwelling’. Student accommodation and other ‘communal establishments’ are counted separately.

Figures for how many dwellings exist, including how many are vacant, as well as breakdowns of these by tenure, are part of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) dwelling stock series.

In addition, every year new dwellings become available, mainly as a result of house building but also because of changes to existing buildings. Changes to the housing supply are also compiled by the DCLG.

House building

Figures for how many houses are started and completed in the UK are published every three months by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). There are breakdowns for the type of tenure, region and number of bedrooms, and historical figures go back to the Second World War. There are older figures dating back to the 1920s.

Houses built under government programmes (such as the Kickstart Housing Delivery programme) are published separately by the Homes and Communities Agency.

Figures for who’s applying for and getting planning permission are put out every three months as part of the DCLG’s planning applications statistics.

Affordable housing

Affordable housing is designed to meet the needs of people who can’t afford housing at market rates. It’s defined as any house that is ‘social rented’, ‘affordable rented’ or ‘intermediate’, which in essence means its cost is held low by rent controls or guideline levels set locally and nationally.

Figures for the supply of affordable housing in the economy are published in a single release by the DCLG.

Figures for affordable homes built under government programmes (such as the Affordable Homes Programme) are published separately by the Homes and Communities Agency.

The housing market and house prices

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) publishes data on the number of property transactions and land prices through the Regulated Mortgage Survey, covered as part of its housing market release. Detailed figures for the value of homes sold in property transactions are published by HM Revenue and Customs.

However, there’s no single definitive source for house prices across the economy and how they change. A number of different organisations make the attempt based on different methods. The main ones are:

Sample based:

Office for National Statistics (based on a sample of sales by mortgage lenders)

Data based:

Land Registry (based on repeat sales reported to the Land Registry)

Acadametrics (based on Land Registry data)

Halifax (based on sales of Halifax mortgages)

Nationwide (based on sales of Nationwide mortgages)

Survey based:

Hometrack (based on a survey of the opinions of estate agents and surveyors)

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (based on a survey of property surveyors)

Housing costs and standards

Information about housing standards is published every year as part of the English Housing Survey, which is commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It has two main releases:

The homes report focuses on bricks and mortar, from the condition (‘decency’) of properties to their safety, energy performance and local environment.

The household report focuses on people, looking at the general demographics of householders, their housing costs, the extent of overcrowding and under-occupation, where vulnerable and disadvantaged groups are housed, and overall housing satisfaction.

Council Tax and rents

Figures for rates and collections of Council Tax are published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

To find out the Council Tax band of a particular address, the gov.uk website has a useful search function. To find out the rates of Council Tax bands in any particular area, the Valuation Office Agency publishes detailed lists of valuations across England and Wales.

The levels of private rents across the country are measured and published by the Valuation Office Agency.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty levels and rates are published by HM Revenue and Customs. The number of properties liable to incur stamp duty when sold is published separately by HMRC in its tables of property transactions in the UK.

Mortgage lending

Mortgage lending figures are published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. These are based on data provided by banks, building societies and other lenders who make up the vast majority of all mortgage lending in the UK.


Failing to keep up with mortgage payments can result in homes being repossessed. Figures on the total number of mortgages, those in arrears and the number of homes repossessed are put together by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). More detailed figures on the results of repossession claims are published in a related release every three months.

Data on the number of claims made for repossession and the outcomes of those claims is published separately by the Ministry of Justice.


Being legally homeless doesn’t necessarily mean people don’t have accommodation. Local councils take decisions on whether people are legally homeless or threatened with being so, and factors such as how ‘reasonable’ it is to live somewhere can decide whether someone is homeless. For instance, people who face violence or abuse, or have homes in very poor condition, or simply can’t afford to stay where they are can all be classed as homeless.

Figures for homelessness hence focus on the number of ‘households’ that local councils owe a homeless duty to and the number of local council decisions that result in a homeless classification. They’re published by the DCLG.

Data on rough sleepers (people sleeping in the open air or buildings not designed for habitation) is published alongside homelessness statistics. These figures are based on single night street counts conducted by teams, and national figures are deduced from these samples. Local authorities are not required to hold these counts. Given this, these figures are only reliable in limited cases.

Land use

Data on where houses are being built, how clustered they are and what type of land they’re built on is compiled as land use change statistics.

Information about green belt land use across local authorities is published separately by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

In addition, figures on brownfield land use are published by the Homes and Communities Agency.