LEADING Sheffield-based academic Professor Danny Dorling claims national statistics show Britain is ‘going back in time’ as home ownership decreases.
Numbers of people owning homes outright, through mortgages or shared ownership has been rising for decades fuelled by moves such as Margaret Thatcher’s Right to Buy scheme for council tenants in the 1980s.
But data from the 2011 Census, which has just been released, shows that nationally, 64 per cent of people owned their own homes, down from 68 per cent in 2001.
In Sheffield, the figure has fallen from 60.15 per cent in 2001 to 58.7 per cent last year.
The proportion of households owning properties has also fallen in other parts of South Yorkshire but was above the national average.
In Doncaster, ownership was 65.7 per cent, compared with 65.4 per cent in Rotherham and 64.7 per cent in Barnsley.
Danny Dorling, Professor of Human Geography at Sheffield University, said: “It seems as if we are going back in time. Home ownership has been growing steadily but is now falling back.”
Prof Dorling said likely factors include people being priced out of the market so households are being forced to rent for longer in order to save money for a deposit.
Among other changes revealed by the census is that South Yorkshire is becoming a much more diverse place.
The overall population of the county is now 1,343,601 – of which 1,183,179 or 88 per cent, class themselves as white British – higher than the national average of 80.5 per cent.
But in Sheffield, the proportion of the population that is white British fell from 91.2 per cent in 2001 to 80.8 per cent last year. While the city’s population grew 7.6 per cent from 513,234 to 552,698, those who were white British fell from 468,217 in 2001 to 446,837 in 2011. The white British population was 96 per cent in Barnsley, 91.8 per cent in Doncaster and 91 per cent in Rotherham in 2011.