1. Main points

  • Private rental prices paid by tenants in Great Britain rose by 1.6% in the 12 months to September 2017; this is unchanged from August 2017.
  • In England, private rental prices grew by 1.6%, Wales saw growth of 1.4% while Scotland saw rental prices increase by 0.3% in the 12 months to September 2017.
  • London private rental prices grew by 0.9% in the 12 months to August 2017, which is 0.7 percentage points below the Great Britain 12-month growth rate.
Back to table of contents

2. Things you need to know about this release

On 15 June 2017, the National Statistician announced that pre-release access to Office for National Statistics publications would stop with effect from 1 July 2017. Ministers and other officials no longer receive access to the information prior to publication.

The Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP) measures the change in price of renting residential property from private landlords. The index is published as a series of price indices covering Great Britain, its constituent countries and the English regions. All data presented are non-seasonally adjusted.

IPHRP measures the change in price tenants face when renting residential property from private landlords, thereby allowing a comparison between the prices tenants are charged in the current month as opposed to the same month in the previous year. The index does not measure the change in newly advertised rental prices only, but reflects price changes for all private rental properties.

The IPHRP is constructed using administrative data. That is, the index makes use of data that are already collected for other purposes in order to estimate rental prices. The sources of private rental prices are Valuation Office Agency (VOA), Scottish Government (SG) and Welsh Government (WG). All three organisations deploy rental officers to collect the price paid for privately rented properties. The sources of expenditure weights are the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Scottish Government, Welsh Government and the VOA.

IPHRP is released as an Experimental Statistic. While the methodology for IPHRP is final, Northern Ireland is currently excluded from the price index. We are working with Northern Ireland Housing Executive to secure private rental data for Northern Ireland. Once the coverage of IPHRP has been improved to that of the UK, the IPHRP will be assessed against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics to achieve National Statistics status.

Back to table of contents

3. Growth in private rental prices in Great Britain slowing

Between January 2011 and September 2017, private rental prices in Great Britain increased by 15.2%, strongly driven by the historical growth in private rental prices within London. When London is excluded, private rental prices increased by 11.3% over the same period (Figure 1).

Growth in private rental prices paid by tenants in Great Britain has seen signs of a slowdown since the end of 2015, increasing by 1.6% in the 12 months to September 2017. For example, a property that was rented for £500 per month in September 2016, which saw its rent increase by the average rate in Great Britain, would be rented for £508 in September 2017. This slowdown in the growth in private rental prices in Great Britain is driven mainly by a slowdown in London over the same period.

The 12-month growth rate of private rental prices paid by tenants in Great Britain in September 2017 was 1.6%, unchanged from August 2017. Rental prices for Great Britain excluding London increased by 1.9% in the 12 months to September 2017, unchanged from August 2017 (Figure 2). The growth rate for London (0.9%) in the 12 months to September 2017 is 0.7 percentage points below that of Great Britain.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) August 2017 Residential Market Survey reported slightly stronger tenant demand with landlord instructions more or less flat. The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) echo this in their Private Rented Sector Report for August 2017 reporting that rental stock decreased marginally whilst demand grew. This suggests some upward pressure on new lets which may feed through to the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (a stock measure) over time.

Back to table of contents

4. England, Wales and Scotland see growth in private rental prices

All the countries that constitute Great Britain have experienced rises in their private rental prices since 2011 (Figure 3). Since January 2011, rental prices in England have increased more than those in Wales and Scotland.

The annual rate of change for Wales (1.4%) in September 2017 is now similar to the annual rate of change for England and Great Britain (both 1.6%) (Figure 4). Wales has shown a broad increase in its annual growth rate since July 2016.

Rental growth in Scotland increased by 0.3% in the 12 months to September 2017 to reach its joint highest rate since May 2016. This weaker growth may be due to stronger supply and weaker demand in Scotland as reported by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

Back to table of contents

5. Growth in private rental prices in London continues to slow

Growth in private rental prices in London was 0.9% in the 12 months to September 2017, down from 1.2% in August 2017. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reported in their August 2017 Residential Market Survey that near-term expectations are still negative in the capital, an ongoing trend stretching back to August 2016.

Focusing on the English regions, the largest annual rental price increases were in the East Midlands (2.9%), up from 2.8% in August 2017 (Figure 5). This was followed by the South East (2.5%), down from 2.6% in August 2017, the East of England (2.4%), up from 2.1% in August 2017 and the South West (2.1%), unchanged from August 2017.

The lowest annual rental price increases were in the North East (0.4%), unchanged from August 2017, London (0.9%), down from 1.2% in August 2017, the North West (1.3%), down from 1.4% in August 2017 and Yorkshire and The Humber (1.6%), down from 1.7% in August 2017.

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

Back to table of contents

7. Quality and methodology

Details of the methodology used to calculate the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP) can be found in the July 2013 IPHRP article but this article requires some updating. In March 2015, methodological improvements were implemented to improve the matching of properties over time; this ensures that we are comparing “like with like”. These methodological improvements were presented in the January 2015 article.

In September 2015, we published an evaluation of our rental price indices against the growth in average private rental prices published by Valuation Office Agency (VOA); please see the article Explaining private rental growth for more information. Comparisons of IPHRP against other private rent measures can be found in the article published alongside this release.

The IPHRP Quality and Methodology Information report contains important information on:

  • the strengths and limitations of the data and how it compares with related data
  • uses and users of the data
  • how the output was created
  • the quality of the output including the accuracy of the data
Back to table of contents