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21 April, 2021 Open access

MHCLG housing survey highlights changing circumstances of households in England through the Covid-19 pandemic

Findings include that private rental arrears remain higher than they were pre-pandemic, while mortgage arrears have returned to pre-pandemic levels

A new survey from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has highlighted the changing circumstances of households in the first nine months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Providing a follow up to the English Housing Survey (EHS) 2019/2020 published in December 2020, the Household Resilience Study: Wave 2 report is the second in a three-part exercise to track the experiences of respondents to the main EHS 2019/2020 in order to assess the impacts of the pandemic on housing circumstances.

NB - the Wave 1 study was based on fieldwork undertaken in June-July 2020, while the Wave 2 study fieldwork was carried out in November-December 2020. The third and final Wave 3 study is running in April-May 2021 to coincide with the easing of Covid-19 related restrictions.

Among the Wave 2 report’s findings on the impacts of the Covid outbreak on the private rented sector are that -

In relation to other housing tenures, the report highlights that the proportion of mortgagors who reported they were in arrears had returned to pre-pandemic levels of 1 per cent, fewer than the 6 per cent who reported they were in arrears in June-July 2020, meaning approximately 73,000 households were in arrears in November-December 2020. With regard to social renters, the report finds that over the course of the pandemic, the proportion in arrears increased to 13 per cent in June-July 2020 from its pre-pandemic level of 11 per cent, then reduced back to 11 per cent in November-December 2020.

Elsewhere, the report provides a more mixed picture of both negative and apparent positive trends for households as the pandemic has progressed, including that -

For more information, see Household Resilience Study: Wave 2 from gov.uk