The English Housing Survey (EHS) is a national survey of people’s housing circumstances and the condition and energy efficiency of housing in England.

It is one of the longest standing government surveys and was first run in 1967. This report provides the findings from the 2020-21 survey.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected English Housing Survey data collection, and it will take several years to determine whether the changes observed in 2020-21 are sustained over the longer term.

Caution is advised when interpreting some of the larger changes observed in 2020-21 and reported in this statistical release

Impact of COVID-19 on the English Housing Survey

The 2020-21 English Housing Survey data was collected during the COVID-19 pandemic which necessitated a change in the established survey mode. Face-to-face interviews were replaced with telephone interviews and internal inspections of properties were replaced with external inspections and linking administrative data sources.

The composition of the EHS achieved sample changed significantly between 2019-20 and 2021-21, due to changing household circumstances

The pandemic and associated restrictions resulted in a different pattern of movement between households as people ‘bubbled up’ with friends and family. As a consequence, there was a reduction in house sharing amongst unrelated adults and there was likely an increase in multi-generational households as adult children moved in with their parents or parents moved in with their children.

The changes to the survey also resulted in a significantly smaller sample size with 7,474 interviews in 2020-21, down from around 13,300 in a usual year.

There was some data that was unable to be collected eg data on the condition of the homes that relies on a surveyor’s assessment of the inside of a home.

This Report

This report is split into two sections. The first, on households, covers tenure (owner occupation and the social and private rented sectors) and the demographic and economic characteristics of the people who live in the three tenures.

The second section, on homes, provides an overview of the housing stock in England including: the age, size, and type of home; energy efficiency of the housing stock; decent homes; homes affected by damp and mould; and smoke alarms.

Throughout the report, English Housing Survey data are compared with Household Resilience Study data which was collected in three waves over 2020 and 2021

Report Headlines

  • Owner occupation rates did not increase between 2019-20 and 2020-21, but rates are up over the longer term.
  • The proportion of households in the private rented sector has decreased since 2015-16 but did not change between 2019-20 and 2020-21.
  • The proportion of households in the social rented sector has not changed for more than a decade.
  • On average, owner occupied homes are larger and are more likely to have outside space than rented homes.
  • There remains a lower proportion of non-decent homes in the social sector than in the private rented and owner occupied sectors.
  • Between 2019-20 and 2020-21, well-being levels declined and loneliness increased.
  • The energy efficiency of the English housing stock has continued to improve.

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