The private rental sector accounts for 22 per cent of all households in the UK according to a think tank.
In an essay marking 30 years since Margaret Thatcher's 'property owning democracy' speech to the Conservative party conference of 1985, the non-party ResPublica think tank says that owner occupation today stands at 61 per cent across the UK - precisely the same proportion as in 1985.
However, what has changed radically, says the group, is the private rented sector; whereas in 1985 some 30 per cent of households rented from public landlords and nine per cent from private landlords.
Today the emphasis has changed, with 22 per cent renting from private landlords and nine per cent from public.
"It is only where there is ownership that people want to protect and care for what they own, creating a legacy for themselves, their children and their communities" says Phillip Blond, director of ResPublica.
"At the moment we are failing to extend economic ownership to everyone, ownership is an unrealisable dream for too many. Welfare has failed to save the poor from their lot, only the possibility of mass ownership offers the possibility of ending poverty, this is our dream and this should be the aim of all our policy” he claims.