Private rental market summary statistics in England: April 2020 to March 2021

Median monthly rental prices for the private rental market in England, calculated using data from the Valuation Office Agency.

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Contact:
Email Natalie Jones

Release date:
16 June 2021

Next release:
December 2021

1. Main points

  • The median monthly rent was £730 for England, recorded between April 2020 and March 2021; this is the highest ever recorded.

  • London had the highest median monthly rent at £1,430; this is nearly double the median monthly rent for England.

  • The North East had the lowest median monthly rent at £500.

  • The difference in monthly rental price between the most and least expensive local authorities was nearly £2,000.

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2. Rent prices in England

Figure 1: Median monthly private rental prices increases with number of bedrooms

Median and interquartile range of monthly rents by bedroom categories, England, 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021

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Private rental prices increased with property size

The median monthly rent in England was £730. The property size with the highest monthly rent was properties with four or more bedrooms (£1,350). Single rooms had the lowest monthly rent of all property sizes, at £412.

The difference in median monthly rents between studios (£575) and single rooms (£412) could have been driven by high volumes of data in the sample of studios located in London and the South East (representing just under half of the sample size).

The interquartile range increased with property size. The spread of rents was greatest for the "four or more bedrooms" category because of the inclusion of very large properties. The correspondingly higher rents of these large properties drove the sharp increase in both median rent and spread of rents in this category compared with three-bedroom properties.

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3. Rent prices by region

Figure 2: Median monthly private rental price was greatest in London

Median and interquartile range of monthly rents for all bedroom categories, by region, 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021

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Private rental prices were higher in London than any other region

Rental prices and the spread of rents tended to be higher in the southern regions of England than in the Midlands and northern regions.

The median monthly rent was highest in London at £1,430, which is £530 higher than the next largest median rent, which was £900 in the South East. The median monthly rent for the North East was £500; this is the lowest of all regions.

London rents had the greatest range of prices of all regions. This is because rent prices in Inner London tend to be higher than for Outer London. The median monthly rent for Inner London was £1,650 compared with £1,300 for Outer London.

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4. Local authority analysis

Figure 3: The difference in monthly rental price between the most and least expensive local authorities was nearly £2,000

Median monthly private rental price in England, by local authorities and bedroom category, 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021

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There was a varied distribution in the prices that tenants paid for private housing across local authorities.

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Users should note that samples at local authority level, even for the "all" bedroom category, can be small; therefore, the average monthly rents may be less reliable because of the sample size (for more information, see the Sampling subsection of Section 8).

Most expensive local authority: Kensington and Chelsea

Rents in England were highest in London, and they were generally higher in Inner London than Outer London. The median monthly rent was £1,650 in Inner London and £1,300 in Outer London.

For Inner London, the highest median monthly rent was in Kensington and Chelsea (£2,275) and the lowest median monthly rent was in Lewisham (£1,250). For Outer London, the highest median monthly rent was in Richmond upon Thames (£1,575) and the lowest median monthly rent was in Sutton (£1,100).

Least expensive local authority: Kingston upon Hull

The lowest median monthly rent in England was £425 in Kingston upon Hull (within Yorkshire and The Humber). The highest median monthly rent in Yorkshire and The Humber was in York (£775).

For comparison, the region with the lowest median monthly rent in England was the North East, where the median monthly rent was £500. The local authority with the highest median monthly rent in the North East was in Newcastle upon Tyne (£695). The lowest median monthly rent was shared by County Durham and Darlington (£450).

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5. Private rental market, England data

Private rental market summary statistics in England
Dataset | Released 16 June 2021
Median monthly rental prices for the private rental market in England by bedroom category, region and local authority, calculated using data from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

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6. Glossary

Bedroom category

There are six bedroom categories:

  • room - this is a non-self-contained single room with shared facilities, including bedsits, single rooms in a house or flat shared with other tenants, and single rooms rented from a resident landlord

  • studio - this is a self-contained single-roomed property with own kitchen and bath, shower or WC facilities

  • one to four or more bedrooms - these are self-contained properties with one to four or more bedrooms, including houses, bungalows, flats and maisonettes

Interquartile range

The interquartile range is the difference between the lower and upper quartile, representing the middle 50% of values.

Local authorities

Shires, metropolitan districts, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, unitary authorities, London boroughs and the City of London are local authorities.

Lower and upper quartile

When a series of numbers are arranged by size, the lower quartile (or 25th percentile) is the value that splits the lowest 25% of the data from the highest 75%. The upper quartile (or 75th percentile) is the value that splits the highest 25% of the data from the lowest 75%.

Region

A region is a geographical unit formerly referred to as Government Office Region (GOR). From 1 April 2011, the term GOR was dropped in favour of region.

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7. Measuring the data

Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) publishing review

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is undertaking a review into whether the 9:30am release time stated in the Code of Practice for Statistics meets the needs of users. During the pandemic, exemptions were granted to allow the release of market sensitive statistics at 7:00am. The OSR welcomes views about the release time of official statistics by Friday 25 June 2021, please send comments to: regulation@statistics.gov.uk.

Methodology

These statistics are based on a sample of 448,060 private rental data in the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) lettings information database, collected by Rent Officers from landlords and letting agents. Data were extracted for the 12 months to the end of March 2021. Only cases with sufficient evidence of a transaction taking place were included in the sample. A small proportion of data that was unconfirmed or had limited evidence was not included.

The data were broken down by administrative area and by bedroom or room category, and statistics were calculated on the total monthly rents (which may include some service charges such as fuel and water). For Local Housing Allowance purposes, service charges were not included as they were ineligible for the calculation of Housing Benefit.

The rental value ranges displayed in Figure 3 are produced using "Jenks natural breaks"; this is a method that separates values into groups that are naturally present in the data. Similar values are grouped in such a way that the differences between groups are maximised.

Upcoming changes

Following the Digital Economy Act 2017, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) gained access to the VOA private rental microdata. Consequently, the ONS is now responsible for the publication of private rental market statistics (PRMS), published by the VOA prior to October 2019, and aims to re-develop the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP) and PRMS to produce mix-adjusted average rental prices that are comparable over time and geography down to lower geographical levels, to better meet user needs.

More information and a timetable for these developments is available in the Private rental prices development plan: January 2021. If you have any queries or feedback on these developments, please email hpi@ons.gov.uk.

Voluntary provision of data

Thank you to the landlords and estate agents who voluntarily provide the data that make this release possible.

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8. Strengths and limitations

Data interpretation and comparability

Under the current methodology, we do not publish a data time series, and users are advised not to infer trends in the rental market over time by comparing prices year-on-year.

These statistics are for information only and should be distinguished from Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates published on DirectGov (used to calculate Housing Benefit for privately renting tenants).

Sampling

These statistics are based on a sample of 448,060 rents recorded between 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. Rent Officers collect these letting information data for functions related to Housing Benefit and Universal Credit on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They are responsible for ensuring collected lettings information are representative of the full range of market rents. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) provides more information on Rent Officers

The 2011 Census provides a benchmark for the population of privately rented properties. Rent Officers endeavour to collect a proportionate spread of data by property type and geographical spread. The data have not been drawn from a statistically designed sample, so these statistics should be considered as only indicative of the private rental market.

Results are not adjusted to produce statistics that are representative of the private rental property market in England. Housing Benefit claimants are excluded, so not all privately rented properties are represented in this sample. The regional variation in sample size is published in Table 1.7 of the Private rental market summary statistics dataset.

Landlords and letting agents provide Rent Officers with data about the properties they let on the open market. This information is captured electronically in the lettings information database. Checks are carried out at the point of entry to ensure that any Housing Benefit-funded tenancies are excluded from this database.

To avoid disclosure of personal information, statistics derived from samples containing fewer than five records have been suppressed. All rental values have been rounded to the nearest pound.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Natalie Jones
hpi@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456400