Do over 95% of south Belfast residents own their own home?

CLAIM: Over 95% of people living in south Belfast own their own home.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The 2011 Census shows that the Belfast South constituency recorded 56.1% of homes being owned outright or owned with a mortgage or loan.

On 4 December 2019, Emma Little-Pengelly, a DUP candidate in the General Election for the constituency of Belfast South, stated in a tweet that “over 95%” of people who live in South Belfast own their own home:

Context

Little-Pengelly has republished an earlier, deleted tweet in this thread, where she states that South Belfast is not a Corbyn Labour constituency and that if candidate Claire Hanna (SDLP) was elected and voted “Corbyn into 10 Downing Street”, i.e. Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister, then that would be “devastating to homeowners, entrepreneurs and our economy”:

In response to a tweet challenging that the MP was assuming that south Belfast residents “all own their own homes”, Little-Pengelly quickly replied and made that claim that “95% do [own their own home]”.

Housing in south Belfast 

The 2011 Census captured information about respondents’ housing tenure and allows it to be broken down by Westminster constituency. Figures for the Belfast South constituency recorded 56.1% of homes being owned outright or owned with a mortgage or loan. This was lower than the average ownership for Northern Ireland (66.9%) and the United Kingdom (63.5%):

Source: House of Commons Library 

For Northern Ireland, more recent data is provided by the Resolution Foundation, an independent think-tank focused on improving the living standards of those on low to middle incomes. In the third quarter of 2018, 54.4% of families (singles or couples) in Northern Ireland own their homes outright or with a mortgage. The following table shows housing tenure in Northern Ireland, by percentage:

Housing tenure % Northern Ireland
Owners (owned outright or with mortgage) 50.6%
Private renters (single or shared rent) 16.2%
Social renters (Council or Housing Association rent) 14.3%
Other (someone else’s ownership/rent; full-time student or single adult in parents’ home) 18.5%
TOTAL 100.0%

The trend of housing tenure in Northern Ireland is shown in the following graphic: 

Source: Resolution Foundation