Index of Private Housing Rental Prices, UK: February 2020

An experimental price index tracking the prices paid for renting property from private landlords in the UK.

This is the latest release. View previous releases

Contact:
Email Ceri Lewis

Release date:
25 March 2020

Next release:
22 April 2020

1. Main points

  • Private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK rose by 1.4% in the 12 months to February 2020, down from 1.5% in January 2020.

  • Private rental prices grew by 1.4% in England, 1.2% in Wales and 0.6% in Scotland in the 12 months to February 2020.

  • London private rental prices rose by 1.1% in the 12 months to February 2020.

  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released a public statement on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the production of statistics. Measuring the data describes the situation in relation to the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP).

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2. UK private rental prices

Private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK increased by 1.4% in the 12 months to February 2020, down from 1.5% in January 2020. For example, a property that was rented for £500 per month in January 2019 and had a rent increase of the average UK rate would be rented for £507.00 in February 2020.

Growth in private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK generally slowed since the beginning of 2016, caused mainly by a slowdown in London over the same period. Rental growth has started to pick up since the end of 2018, caused by strengthening growth in London.

In the 12 months to February 2020, rental prices for the UK excluding London increased by 1.5%, down from 1.6% in January 2020 (Figure 1). London private rental prices increased by 1.1% in the 12 months to February 2020.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' (RICS's) February 2019 UK Residential Market Survey reported that tenant demand rose for a third consecutive month. Alongside this, landlord instructions fell once again.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) reported in their Private Rented Sector Report: January 2020 that demand from prospective tenants increased to the highest level on record, but supply of rental stock fell to the lowest seen in seven months.

These supply and demand pressures can take time to feed through to the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP), which reflects price changes for all private rental properties rather than only newly advertised rental properties.

Focusing on the long-term trend, between January 2015 and January 2020, private rental prices in the UK increased by 8.7% (Figure 2).

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3. UK private rental growth rates by country

In England, private rental prices grew by 1.4% in the 12 months to February 2020, down from 1.5% in January 2020. When London is excluded from England, privately rented properties increased by 1.6% in the 12 months to February 2020.

Private rental prices in Wales grew by 1.2% in the 12 months to February 2020, down from 1.3% in January 2020.

Rental growth in Scotland increased by 0.6% in the 12 months to February 2020, unchanged since December 2019. Scotland's rental growth has remained weaker than the rest of the UK's growth since August 2016.

The annual rate of change for Northern Ireland (1.6%) in February 2020 was higher than that of the other countries of the UK. The Northern Ireland annual growth rate has remained broadly consistent (around 2%) since 2018, with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2019 being the largest fall in the annual rental price growth since IPHRP began. Northern Ireland data have been copied forward since December 2019. The next update to Northern Ireland data will be in the June 2020 release.

All UK countries have experienced a rise in their private rental prices between January 2015 and February 2020 (Figure 4). Since January 2015, rental prices in England and Northern Ireland have increased more than those in Wales and Scotland.

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4. UK private rental growth by English regions

Focusing on the English regions, the largest annual rental price increase in the 12 months to February 2020 was in the South West (at 2.3%), unchanged since January 2020 (Figure 5). This was followed by the East Midlands, at 2.2%.

The lowest annual rental price growth was in the North East where rental prices increased by 0.7% in the 12 months to February 2020, followed by the North West, which increased by 1.0%.

Figure 6 shows the historical 12-month percentage growth rate in the rental prices of each of the English regions.

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5. Private rental data

Index of Private Housing Rental Prices, UK: annual weights analysis
Dataset | Released 25 March 2020
Aggregate weights information used in the experimental Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP).

Index of Private Housing Rental Prices, UK: monthly estimates
Dataset | Released 25 March 2020
Rental price index historical time series (index values and annual percentage change).

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6. Glossary

Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP)

The IPHRP measures the change in the price tenants face when renting residential property from private landlords.

Administrative data

Administrative data are data that people have already provided to government through day-to-day activities, for example, health records, social security payments or educational attainment information.

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7. Measuring the data

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are working to ensure that we continue to publish the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP). The price collection for this publication has been largely unaffected. As this situation evolves, we are developing several solutions to meet potential scenarios depending on the amount of data that is able to be collected by our data suppliers to ensure we are still able to produce the publication over the coming months. These could involve incorporating minimal price updates to a previous month's collection. As the methodology gives a smoothed measure of rental prices, the impact of this approach is expected to be minimal. This process also applies for the rental equivalence measure used to measure owner occupiers' housing costs in the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH), which accounts for approximately 15% to 20% of the weight. Users will be informed of any changes to how the data are measured.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released a public statement on COVID-19 and the production of statistics. Specific queries must be directed to the Media Relations Office.

After EU withdrawal

As the UK leaves the EU, it is important that our statistics continue to be of high quality and are internationally comparable. During the transition period, those UK statistics that align with EU practice and rules will continue to do so in the same way as before 31 January 2020.

After the transition period, we will continue to produce our inflation statistics in line with the UK Statistics Authority's Code of Practice for Statistics and in accordance with internationally agreed statistical guidance and standards.

Sources

The IPHRP is constructed using administrative data. This means that the index makes use of data that are already collected for other purposes to estimate rental prices. The sources of private rental prices are the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE). Data for Northern Ireland also include data provided by Propertynews.com. Estimates are based on a known sample rather than a census.

The sources of the annually updated expenditure weights are the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, and VOA.

The IPHRP's indices are updated on a monthly basis with the new monthly estimate. Data are indexed with January 2015 as a base year. Data for England are provided from January 2005, data for Wales from January 2009 and data for Scotland from January 2011. UK data are from January 2015.

Quality

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the IPHRP QMI.

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8. Strengths and limitations

Strengths

The Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP) is constructed using large administrative sources, specified in Section 7: Measuring the data. Annually, over 450,000 private rents prices are collected in England, 30,000 in Wales, 25,000 in Scotland and 15,000 in Northern Ireland.

The index does not only measure the change in newly advertised rental prices but reflects price changes for all private rental properties.

Limitations

The IPHRP is published as price indices rather than average prices. It is also only published down to a country and regional level. While actual rental prices cannot currently be published in the IPHRP because of data access constraints, we are actively working to acquire the necessary data.

The IPHRP is released as an Experimental Statistic.

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