More people are living in private rented accommodation than social housing for the first time since records began in 1980.
The Government-commissioned English Housing Survey reports the significant shift took place in 2012/13.
In 2012/13 the private rented sector accounted for four million or 18 per cent of households.
Social housing accounted for 17 per cent 3.7 million households after years of decline since the Right to Buy programme in the 1980s.
The report shows private tenants accounted for around 10 per cent of housing stock through the 1980s and 1990s but have since grown rapidly.
The survey says the increase was driven by the removal of rent controls, growth in assured shorthold tenancies, greater flexibility in length of tenancies and the introduction of buy-to-let loans.
Social housing has faced a “long period of decline” after Right to Buy allowed tenants to buy council homes at a discount.
Households living in social housing dropped from 31 per cent in 1980 to 19 per cent in 2000.
Private renting had the youngest age profile of the three housing tenures with more than half under 35.
Social housing reflected a broad range of UK ages whereas 62 per cent of owner occupiers are retired.
Soclai housing tenants were more likely to be unemployed whereas private tenants were more likely to be single.