Some 57 per cent of London homes are owner-occupied. Owner-occupation is much higher in outer London. In suburban boroughs like Redbridge the proportion is about 80 per cent, whilst in inner city Hackney it is less than a third. Other homes are rented privately or rented from the local authority. The proportion of local authority rented housing has steadily fallen in recent years, as tenants have been encouraged to buy their homes and local authorities, led by Bromley, have transferred the management of some or all of their housing stock to housing associations. Nevertheless, it still accounts for just under 20 per cent of the total. Only 14 per cent is in the private rented sector, which is small in comparison with other major European cities.
Around the squares of central London are dignified terraced houses built in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Many have been converted into business premises or embassies, although areas such as Belgravia, Mayfair, Chelsea or the outskirts of Regent's Park still have exclusive residential properties among their grand terraces and quiet mews.
In the nineteenth century London's suburbs began to spread. Estates of large houses were built in places like Muswell Hill, Ealing and Sydenham, though many of these have been subdivided into flats in the post-war years.
The second half of the nineteenth century also saw attempts to improve the housing conditions of the London poor. George Peabody built blocks of low-rent flats, the Peabody estates, which still exist, and there were carefully planned developments of workmen's cottages; a tine example dating from the 1870s lies behind Battersea Town Hall.
Massive house-building extended London's suburbs in the 1920s and 1930s. Large new estates of detached, semi-detached and terraced houses, each with their own gardens, filled in the gaps between the old villages and towns of the suburbs.
After the Second World War more estates were built consisting of mixed housing accommodation in vernacular styles, shops and churches, occasionally incorporating low-rise flats. Tower blocks of flats - apartments -began to appear in the 1950s. One significant development was the Barbican complex, designed to reverse the long-term decline in the number of residents in the City.

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