Statisticians finally figure out UK needs a rent index

AFS Team·21 September 2012·3 min read
Statisticians finally figure out UK needs a rent index
A shake up of the way the government delivers housing market statistics will see the launch of a new private rental index for the UK. A two-year inquiry has finally delivered recommendations for revamping housing market statistics. The new buy to let rent index will launch alongside a new UK house price index. The details will follow in a consultation paper from the UK Statistics Authority, due for publication in October 2012. Ministers, landlords and property investors currently rely on rental prices derived from letting agents, lenders and insurance companies. These figures are considered unreliable as the data is limited to the organisation’s customer base, which may be a distorted sample. At one time, a minister admitted in Parliament that official private rental figures in a government report were copied off the internet. House price surveys are also unreliable - with two government surveys giving a £70,000 price difference for the average home in July. The Land Registry values the average home in England and Wales at £162,900, while the Communities and Local Government Department puts the UK average at £234,000. Similar price discrepancies exist in house price statistics issued by banks, estate and building societies. “This report builds on the findings from my review of official house price statistics, published in December 2010,” said Matheson. “The housing market affects everyone in the UK in some way. Statistics on the housing market and the factors that influence it are essential for making informed decisions on housing, whether in central or local government, the private or voluntary sector, or private individuals deciding whether to move, rent, buy or invest.” The report also explains the review is a response to concerns that the public and policymakers were getting enough information on the housing market in time to make informed decisions.