PRS Statistics Bulletin – December 2017

PRS Statistics Bulletin – December 2017

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Welcome to the December PRS Statistics Bulletin from the RLA Private renting Evidence, Analysis and Research Lab (PEARL). We have rounded up all of the latest housing statistics and data updates from across the private rented sector and compiled them into one easy to digest bulletin.

PRS Evidence Dashboard Update

In December there were updates to the following data-sets and indices:

  • Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP)
  • CPI
  • House Price Index
  • Average Weekly Earnings
  • Mortgage Activity (Value & Number of Buy-to-let mortgages)

You can find the updated statistics displayed on our PRS Evidence Dashboard here.

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Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP)

The latest Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP) shows that private rents increased in Great Britain by 1.4% in the 12 months to November 2017. This figure is down on the previous month of 1.5%, and down from 1.8% for the year to August 2017.

Across Great Britain there were varying rental price changes in the 12-month rate to November 2017:

  • England rental prices grew by 1.4%
  • Wales rental prices grew by 1.4%
  • Scotland rental prices grew by 0.2%
  • London rental prices grew by 0.6%

Rental price growth across the whole of Great Britain has continued to slow apart from Wales, with a significant slow down occurring in London.

This rental price growth in the capital has slowed continually since November 2015, when rental price growth was 4.1%. It is now 3.5 percentage points down on the same time 2 years ago. Great Britain and the countries within have all experienced rental price growth since 2011, however, rental prices have grown more in England than in Scotland and Wales.

In Scotland, rental price growth has weakened since June 2015 and has remained near to 0% growth since August 2016.

While Wales has experienced stronger rental price growth since November 2016, rental price growth in Wales is now at 1.4%. If this trend continues, Wales rental price growth could out-grow the prices of England in 2018.

The latest data is indicating a slowdown of rental prices across Great Britain since 2015, and this slowdown is being driven by the London market. With prices in London is 0.8 percentage points below that of Great Britain.

Rental price growth in London has continued to slow and is now 0.1 percentage points down from the previous month. RICS is continuing to have a negative forecast for rental price growth, so we should expect the London rental slow-down to continue.

At a regional level in England, the regions with the largest increase in rents to November 2017 were:

  • East Midland rental prices grew by 2.7% (down from 2.9% in October 2017)
  • South East rental prices grew by 2.3% (down from 2.4% in October 2017)
  • East of England rental prices grew by 2.1% (remains unchanged from October 2017)

In comparison, the weakest regional rental growth was in the North East with rental growth of 0.0% (down from 0.2% in October 2017), followed by London with rental growth of 0.6% (remains unchanged from October 2017), and then followed by the North West with rental price growth of 1.3% (unchanged from October 2017).

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Consumer Prices Index (CPI)

The Consumer Prices Index 12-month rate increased to 3.1% for November 2017, up from 3% in October 2017. In comparison to the IPHRP for Great Britain, inflation increased by 1.7 percentage points more than private rents for the year until November 2017.

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House Price Index

In the year to October 2017, average house prices in the UK increased by 4.5%, down from 5.1% for August 2017.

UK house price growth has slowed since June 2016 (from 8.2%) and while prices increases were growing over the summer of 2017, since August house price growth has been in decline.

The average UK house price for October 2017 was £224,000. which is £10,000 higher than the previous year, but £1,000 lower than the previous month.

Growth in UK house prices was contributed mostly from growth in England. Across the UK, house price change for the year to October 2017 was the following:

  • England house prices grew by 4.7%, with the average house price now at £241,00
  • Wales house prices grew by 4.5%, with the average house price now at £153,00
  • Scotland house prices grew by 2.8%, with the average house prices now at £144,00
  • Northern Ireland prices grew by 6.0%, with the average house prices now at £132,000



In England, the strongest regional house price growth was in the East Midlands at 7.0% for the year to October 2017, followed by the South West at 6.7%, and then the East if England at 6.1%.
The weakest house price growth was in London at 2.1%, followed by the North East at 2.4%, and then Yorkshire and The Humber at 3.3%.


The region with the highest average house value for October 2017 was London at £483,568, followed by the South East at £324,465, and then the East of England at £289,301.
The region with the lowest average house value for October 2017 was the North East at £130,271.


The property type that had experienced the greatest price growth was Detached properties at 5.4% for the year to October 2017, with the average house price at £340,996.

The property type with the weakest price growth was Flat or maisonette at 3.6% for the year to October 2017, with the average price at £201,527.

House Price Sales

The latest data from the ONS is showing that house price sales have continued to decrease in comparison to the previous year.

In England, house price sales were down 12% in August 2017 in comparison to the previous year. Along with the lower house price growth and rental price growth this is showing a significant slow-down in the housing market in England.

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Average Weekly Earnings

In the year to October 2017, Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) Regular Pay increased by 2.4%, with average weekly earnings now at £478.

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Buy-to-Let Mortgage Activity

Buy-to-let lending in October increased 5% for new purchases month-on-month, and was 5% up on the previous year. However, this remains consistent with previous months where buy-to-let lending for new house purchases has remained relatively unchanged since October 2016, with lending hovering between 5,900 and 6,400 loans.

Overall, this shows that the number of buy-to-let mortgages for new house purchases has not recovered from the Stamp Duty changes, and are well below the number for May 2013 (at 6,900).

Remortgaging is currently driving buy-to-let lending activity, with 13,600 remortgages in October 2017. This is 13% higher year-on-year, and is 2% higher than the previous month.

The buy-to-let lending activity is demonstrating significant trends and indicates that the stamp duty changes have hampered the previous strong growth in the private rented sector.

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Updates from across the sector

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Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

The latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey for November 2017 indicates that house prices are remaining flat across the UK, but that sales continue to decline. In three regions, London, the South East and East Anglia, house price declines have offset any growth in other regions.

House sales have declined nationally, apart from in Wales and Northern Ireland where sales have risen.

In relation to the private rented sector, tenant demand is reported to have decreased. At the same time, new landlord instructions are declining for agents.

RICS are predicting that rental expectations will flatten further over the rest of 2017.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist commented:

“It is perhaps not surprising that the headline indicators for both prices and activity are subdued as Christmas approaches. But once again the feedback we are receiving from respondents points to quite marked differences in trends across the country. It is clear from the results than the mood music in London and the South East is very much flatter than elsewhere and interestingly, the forward looking indicators suggest this is likely to persist into the new year.

It remains to be seen whether the scrapping of stamp duty for first time buyers announced in the Budget will provide much of a lift for the market. There was not much evidence of this in the latest survey, which was conducted after the change in policy, and while most independent analysis casts doubt on whether there will be much follow through, it is still early days. However, if the move does trigger a wider debate about how best to tax property, it will serve a useful role.”

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ARLA PropertyMark

The latest ARLA UK Private Rented Sector Report for November 2017 is showing that the number of tenants experiencing rent increases has fallen to its lowest level in over three years.

In November 2017, only 16% of agents reported landlords increasing rents, down from 27% in September. At the same time, tenant demand for new properties dropped significantly, with 58 new tenant inquiries down from 69 in October, and the average void period between lettings has also increased to 4 weeks.

David Cox, Chief Executive, commented:

“Consumer inflation hit a near six-year high last week, showing that the cost of living continues to rise for many. It’s therefore promising that despite this, the number of tenants having their rents increased has fallen over the last few months, demand has decreased, and the supply of rental stock is up. Looking to 2018 however, our members expect the supply of rental stock to fall, and rents to rise. The past few years have seen landlords inundated with various new laws and legislation and ultimately, it’s driving them out of the market and reducing rental stock. If we want to achieve equilibrium in the market, we simply need to increase stock.”


Dr Tom Simcock

Until February 2019 Tom was the Senior Researcher for the RLA. His expertise lies in researching change in society, public policy and quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Tom’s research on housing has received national media coverage, featuring on the front page of The Times, has influenced government policy making, and has been cited in debates in the House of Commons, House of Lords and by the London Mayor. Tom now works for Edge Hill University.