Property news roundup: Where do people live?

Plus, homelessness in Scotland, and why so few renters have contents insurance

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The Independent Online

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, the 2011 Census reveals that more than three quarters or 20.5 million of the 26.4 million households in the UK in 2011 were living in a house or bungalow. 

More than a fifth (5.8 million) of households were living in a flat, maisonette or apartment and less than one per cent (90,000) were living in a caravan or other temporary structure.

The proportion of households living in a flat, maisonette or apartment varied significantly across the countries. In Scotland over a third (864,000) of all households lived in this type of accommodation compared with 9 per cent (62,000) in Northern Ireland. The respective proportions for England and Wales were 21 per cent (4.7 million) and 12 per cent (160,000).

In 2011, households in the UK had an average of 5.4 rooms per household.

Homelessness in Scotland

Latest Scottish Government statistics show a 12 per cent fall in the number of homelessness assessments between July and September last year, compared to the same period in 2012. “It is welcome news that fewer families and individuals experienced the trauma of homelessness, which is testament to the hard work of teams of local housing officers across Scotland," said Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland. "However, it is still too high and we cannot afford to be complacent or lose sight of the fact that 7,311 households found themselves homeless in just three months.

"The root cause of homelessness is a housing crisis which has seen the housing safety net stripped apart after decades of underinvestment. One solution would be for the Scottish Government to ensure at least 10,000 new social homes a year are built to bring hope to the 155,100 on local authority housing waiting lists and much-needed jobs to the construction sector."

Tenants without contents insurance

A 'Home Protection' study from YouGov has found that only 39 per cent of people renting from private landlords have some form of contents insurance, compared with 48 per cent of those renting from a local authority and 51 per cent of people renting from a local authority.

The research also showed that 89 per cent of mortgage holders have contents insurance and 93 per cent of people who own their homes have policies for their possessions.

"At a time when wages have stagnated in real terms for many consumers, spending has increasingly been cut back to items they feel they can’t live without," said Simon Mottram, Director of Financial and Professional Services at YouGov. "Presently, a great number of renters feel they can live without contents insurance."