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The equity housing hotspots where over 70% of homes are owned outright

What do the property markets in North Norfolk, Kensington and Chelsea and East Devon have in common? They are the only areas of the nation where more than 70% of homes are owned outright, according to the latest research by London lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves.

Benham and Reeves analysed data from the Office for National Statistics looking at the nation’s housing equity hotspots, based on the property market balance between homes owned outright and those owned with a mortgage.

Across England, there are an estimated 15.8m homes either owned outright or with the help of a mortgage. 9.3m of these are owned outright, meaning that 59% of homeowners own 100% of equity within their home.

Regionally, this proportion is highest in the South West where 62% own their home outright, while in contrast, London is home to the lowest proportion of outright ownership at 55%.

However, the capital does account for the second hottest housing equity hotspot at a more granular level.

The research by Benham and Reeves shows that 71% of homeowners own their home outright across the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Only North Norfolk is home to a higher proportion at 72%, while East Devon ranks as the only other area to exceed the 70% threshold at 70%.

Other areas that make the top 10 include Rother (69%), East Lindsey (69%), Derbyshire Dales (69%), Tendring (69%), Chichester (68%), West Devon (68%) and Torridge (68%).

London also accounts for some of the strongest growth in the number of outright owned homes.

Across the City of London, there has been a 71.2% increase in the number of homes owned outright over the last decade. Across Tower Hamlets, this number has increased by 62.2% since 2012, with Greenwich (+62.2%), Newham (+56%) and Southwark (+50.8%) also making the top five largest increases.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented:

“Homeownership is a journey that many embark on and the most exciting stage is, of course, getting that first foot on the ladder with a property we can call our own.

Even now, with the higher cost of borrowing and wider market uncertainties, there remains a real urgency from serious buyers to climb the ladder. This is because they understand that the property market is subject to cycles but is underpinned by long-term growth and so bricks and mortar still holds high appeal as an asset class.

But getting onto the ladder is really only the start of the journey and while climbing it may take many years, the ultimate goal is to own our home mortgage free.

For some, this may seem like a distant dream, particularly at present with the sharp increase in mortgage rates seen in recent months. However, it is a dream that the majority do come to realise and in some areas of the nation, over 70% of homes are owned outright.

This proportion of the market is also growing, and quite considerably in some cases. This trend is likely to continue, particularly given current market uncertainties, as homeowners look to build equity and escape the increased cost of borrowing brought on by higher interest rates.”

Table shows the number of homes owned outright and with a mortgage in each region and the market proportion of each market segme
Location Owned Outright 2021 Owned Mortgage 2021 Total Owned Homes Owned Outright proportion Owned Mortgage proportion
South West 1,092,995 658,096 1,751,091 62% 38%
West Midlands 1,008,613 667,694 1,676,307 60% 40%
East of England 1,106,751 759,387 1,866,138 59% 41%
East Midlands 853,656 586,084 1,439,740 59% 41%
North West 1,264,916 885,766 2,150,682 59% 41%
South East 1,600,022 1,123,815 2,723,837 59% 41%
Yorkshire and The Humber 925,123 653,044 1,578,167 59% 41%
North East 439,192 326,427 765,619 57% 43%
London 1,019,600 828,811 1,848,411 55% 45%
England 9,310,868 6,489,124 15,799,992 59% 41%
Table shows the top 10 areas where the highest proportion of homes are owned outright
Location Owned Outright 2021 Owned Mortgage 2021 Total Owned Homes Owned Outright proportion Owned Mortgage proportion
North Norfolk 30,029 11,642 41,671 72% 28%
Kensington and Chelsea 26,123 10,602 36,725 71% 29%
East Devon 37,345 15,807 53,152 70% 30%
Rother 23,594 10,398 33,992 69% 31%
East Lindsey 32,858 14,702 47,560 69% 31%
Derbyshire Dales 18,096 8,272 26,368 69% 31%
Tendring 36,143 16,606 52,749 69% 31%
Chichester 27,313 12,624 39,937 68% 32%
West Devon 12,944 6,027 18,971 68% 32%
Torridge 16,229 7,597 23,826 68% 32%
Table shows the top 10 areas to have seen the largest increase in the number of homes owned outright over the last decade
Local authority name Owned Outright 2012 Owned Outright 2021 Change
City of London 1,474 2,524 71.2%
Tower Hamlets 11,216 18,308 63.2%
Greenwich 17,158 27,832 62.2%
Newham 15,246 23,784 56.0%
Southwark 14,092 21,245 50.8%
Salford 24,716 36,673 48.4%
Hackney 10,475 15,278 45.9%
Telford and Wrekin 19,211 27,685 44.1%
Dartford 12,091 17,391 43.8%
Vale of White Horse 18,519 26,245 41.7%

Data sourced from the Office for National Statistics – Subnational estimates of dwellings by tenure, England
Latest data available 2021
Total estimated homes is based on owned outright and owned with a mortgage only and does not include private or social rental stock


About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents. With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 21 prominently located branches and 15 international offices.