A study, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, of people moving in and out of publicly subsidised homes shows that annual turnover has risen sharply in the past ten years from four per cent to seven per cent of homes.
Those moving out of social housing into owner occupation are most often couples under 45 where one or both partners are working. But those moving into the sector tend to be young unemployed people, or else families with children that can no longer afford a mortgage.
In 1993-4, more than 70% of households starting out in the social sector in England were aged 16 to 29 compared with only 14% of existing tenants.
Over 60% of householders who moved to social renting from owner occupation had lost their homes through mortgage arrears and been accepted by local authorities as homeless.
A smaller group consisted of older people with very low incomes who had decided to sell up.
A third group of tenants who moved into council or housing association properties from the private rented sector also included high proportions of families where the head of household was not working.
Roger burrows of the Centre for Housing Policy at the university who carried out the research, said: 'This study reveals how movements in and out of the social sector are making a continuing contribution to the process of 'residualisation'.
'As the social sector has contracted, the rate of movement in and out of properties has increased and that is making the stability needed for sustainable community development more difficult to achieve.'