Only 33% of households had a mortgage in 2011, compared to 39% ten years earlier. Total home ownership has declined by 4% over the same period of time.
The data indicated a shift to the private rental sector as the proportion of council tenants also fell. The number of private renters has risen from 1.9m to 3.6m, or 15% of total households in the past decade.
Despite the overall decline in home ownership, there was a slight increase in the number of homeowners who owned their property outright. This was most likely to be the case in Wales and the South West.
By contrast, 27% of Londoners had a mortgage or a property-related loan, while just under a quarter privately rented.
A Council of Mortgage Lenders spokesman said:“While it might be temping to attribute the decline in home-ownership to the post credit-crunch environment, it was already in evidence long before 2007 as affordability constraints were already in evidence, fuelled by the imbalance between housing supply and demand.
“Housing policy is a matter for government, and there is something of an unanswered question about whether the government sees it as a priority to restore home-ownership to previous levels, or whether it expects to concentrate on managing the transition to a lower level of home-ownership in the context of a wider housing strategy.”