Plymouth homeowner numbers fell in wake of bank crash
PLYMOUTH has seen a marked fall in the proportion of people owning their own home with a mortgage in the wake of the banking and housing crash.
The 2011 census reveals 31.5 per cent of nearly 110,000 households lived in a property which they had bought with a loan, compared to 37 per cent a decade earlier.
At the same time the proportion of households renting from a private landlord or letting agency had risen from 11 per cent in 2001 to 18 per cent last year.
It has sparked warnings that the housing market is 'broken', reflecting a growing trend among young people and families who are unable to get a foot on the property ladder.
If the current pattern continues, the next generation will bring up their families in insecure rented properties or at home with their parents, according to the housing charity Shelter.
Campbell Robb, the charity's chief executive, said: "Today's broken housing market isn't the result of the credit crunch or mortgage lending, but decades of under-investment in building the affordable homes we need.
"The Government has got to get a grip on this situation now; otherwise the chances of the next generation getting an affordable home look increasingly bleak."
The once-in-a-decade population survey also revealed the number of residents in Plymouth increased over the period from 240,720 to 256,384 in 2011.
In the South Hams the population total rose from 81,849 to 83,140, and in Cornwall from just under 500,000 to 532,273.
The proportion of Plymouth residents who give their religion as Christian has also plummeted from 74 per cent in 2001 to 58 per cent last year.
Meanwhile, those declared themselves to be of no religion rocketed from 18 per cent to 33 per cent.
In the run-up to the survey the British Humanist Association (BHA) ran a campaign encouraging non-religious people to tick the "no religion" box on the census form.
The statistics emerged as the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed that English cathedral congregations had grown dramatically in recent years, debunking the 'cliché' that the Church of England is fading away.
The census data released detailed the characteristics of people living in 348 local authorities across England and Wales, covering topics including ethnicity, country of birth, health and housing.
It also reveals that more than a quarter (28 per cent) of the city's 109,307 households do not have a car, which is slightly down on the 30 per cent recorded in 2001.
Over the period, the number of cars on Plymouth's roads has risen by 17,000 to 115,466 last year – a hike of 17 per cent.
Guy Goodwin, the ONS's director of census, said: "These statistics paint a picture of society and help us all plan for the future using accurate information at a local level.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg of census statistics. Further rich layers of vital information will be revealed as we publish more detailed data for very local levels over the coming months."