PEARL Rental Index – June 2018

PEARL Rental Index – June 2018

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PEARL Rental Index: June 2018

We have rounded up all of the latest housing statistics, rental index updates, and data on renting from across the sector and compiled them into one easy to digest monthly bulletin.

Headline findings:

  • Rental price growth in Great Britain remained unchanged from April 2018, with rents increasing by 1.0% in the 12 months to May 2018,
  • London rental price growth continuing to decline, with the latest rental index showing rents have decreased by 0.2% in the 12 months to May 2018. This is the first decline since September 2010,
  • Consumer Price Index inflation now at 2.4%, unchanged from the previous month,
  • Buy-to-let remortgaging up 32.4% on the previous month as landlords prepare for another interest rate rise,

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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 1.0% in the 12 months to May 2018. This figure has remained unchanged compared to the previous month but it is 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 May 2018:

  • England rental prices grew by 1.0%
  • Wales rental prices grew by 1.2%
  • Scotland rental prices grew by 0.6%
  • London rental prices decreased by 0.2%

The data is showing that the slow-down in the London market is continuing to decline and prices are now decreasing, if the current trend continues this decrease in prices will continue. The rental index is also showing that the Great Britain and England figures are continuing to slow, but this slow-down is being driven largely by the London Market. Wales rental growth has continued to be stronger than the other constituent countries of the UK.

The London Market has experienced a significant slow-down in rental price growth over the past two years. In November 2015, rental prices were growing at 4.1%, it is now 4.3 percentage points below this figure. Furthermore, London rental growth is 1.2 percentage points below rental growth across Great Britain and is now 0.2 percentage points down from the previous month. It is likely that if the trend for London continues that rental growth will continue to be negative over the next few months. At a regional level in England, the regions with the most substantial increase in rents to February 2017 were:

  • East Midland rental prices grew by 2.9%
  • East of England rental prices grew by 2.0%
  • South West rental prices grew by 2.0%

The regions with the lowest annual increases in rental prices were:

  • London with rental growth of -0.2%
  • North East with rental growth of 0.1%
  • North West with rental growth of 1.1%

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Consumer Prices Index (CPI)

The Consumer Prices Index 12-month rate was at 2.4% for May 2018. This was unchanged from the previous month and down from 3% in January 2018. In comparison to rental growth and the IPHRP rental index for Great Britain, inflation was 1.4 percentage points higher than private rental growth.

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Average Weekly Earnings

In the year to April 2018, Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) Regular Pay increased by 2.8%, with average weekly earnings now at £484.

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House Price Index

In the year to April 2018 , average house prices in the UK increased by 3.9%, down from 5.2% in the year to December 2017. UK house price growth has been slowing since June 2016, where it was 8.2%.

Growth in UK house prices was contributed mostly to growth in England. Across the UK, house price change for the year to April 2018 was the following:

  • England house prices grew by 3.7%, with the average house price now at £243,639
  • Wales house prices grew by 4.4%, with the average house price now at £156,495
  • Scotland house prices grew by 5.6%, with the average house prices now at £148,952
  • Northern Ireland prices grew by 4.2%, with the average house prices now at £130,026


In England, the strongest regional house price growth in the year to April 2018 were in:

  • South West (6.1%)
  • West Midlands (5.9%)
  • East Midlands (4.8%)

The weakest house price growth was in:

  • London (1%)
  • North West (2.4%)
  • East of England (2.5%)
The region with the highest average house value for April 2018 was London at £485,584, followed by the South East at £324,530, and then the East of England at £286,447. The region with the lowest average house value for April 2018 was the North East at £130,489.

The property type that has experienced the greatest price growth was Semi-detached properties at 5.3% for the year to April 2018, with the average house price at £214,717. The property type with the weakest price growth was Flat or maisonette at 1.0% for the year to April 2018, with the average price at £202,052.

House Sales

The latest data from the HM Land Registry is showing that house sales have continued to decrease in comparison to the previous year. In England, house sales were down 15% in February 2018 in comparison to the previous year. Wales has also experienced a decline in the number of sales, and is down 8.6% in February 2018 in comparison to February 2017, and Scotland is down 9.1%. For the whole of the UK, the number of property transactions completed fell by 16.8% for February 2018 in comparison to February 2017, in comparison to the previous month (January 2018), the number of property transactions fell by 4.9%.

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Buy-to-Let Mortgage Activity

Buy-to-let lending in April 2018 declined 5.7% for new house purchases year-on-year. This was also a decline of 12.5% in the value of new lending for new house purchases year-on-year.

Remortgaging is currently driving buy-to-let lending activity, with 14,300 remortgages in April 2018, this is 32.4% percent up year-on-year. The value of remortgaging for new loans was up 35.3% year-on-year and stood at £2.3bn.

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 figure for May 2013 (at 6,900).

When examining the total yearly lending for new buy-to-let purchases, lending has fallen from 183,280 loans in 2007 to just 74,900 loans in 2017, a decrease of 59%. In contrast with first time buyers, there has been more loans for first time new purchases each year in comparison to buy-to-let loans, with 96% more first time buyer loans in 2007 and 388% more loans for first time buyers in 2017.

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Stamp Duty Land Tax Revenue

The latest figures for the Stamp Duty Land Tax revenue collected by HMRC is showing that there has been a 9% drop in net revenue for residential property for Q1 2018 in comparison to Q1 2017. In contrast to the previous quarter however, there has been a 25% drop in net revenue for the Government in comparison to Q4 2017. This is not surprising since there were 27% less transactions in the first quarter of 2018 in comparison to the last quarter of 2017.

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PRS Evidence Dashboard Update

In June 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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Updates from across the sector

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Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

The latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey for May 2018 indicates that there has been an upturn in supply of new homes, yet demand is still declining, yet at a lower rate. In regards to the rental market, demand for properties from tenants is reported to be unchanged, yet supply from landlords is continuing to decline. RICS forecast that due to the lack in supply of properties that this is likely to put upward pressure on rents.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, commented:

“Although agents are suggesting that a little more supply may have come onto the market in May, some of it from the Buy to Let sector, inventory levels still remain near historic lows. Indeed, with the run rate on appraisals continuing to track below the numbers of a year ago it is premature to conclude that a sustained upturn in available stock is imminent.

Against this backdrop, it is likely that the headline picture regarding activity in the housing market will remain subdued for some months to come. This is reflected in the feedback to the latest survey which shows sales expectations only marginally positive on a one-year view.”

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ARLA PropertyMark

The latest ARLA UK Private Rented Sector Report for April 2018 found that letting agents reported a rise in the number of landlords selling properties and leaving the sector. At the same time, the number of tenants looking for a new home to rent has increased by 9%. For rents, 26% of tenants experienced increases to their rent, up two percentage points in comparison to April 2017.

David Cox, Chief Executive, commented:

“The barrage of legislative changes landlords have faced over the past few years, combined with political uncertainty has meant the BTL market is becoming increasingly unattractive to investors. Landlords are either hiking rents for tenants or choosing to exit the market altogether to avoid facing the increased costs incurred. This in turn is hitting renters most, at a time when a huge number of people rely on the rented sector, and leaves us with the question of where will these people find alternative homes?

As demand for private rented homes massively continues to outstrip supply, the Government can no longer divert its attention from the broken housing market. The recent news that the Government is regulating the industry is a step in the right direction, but ultimately we just need more homes.”

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Countrywide Letting Index

The October 2017 index from Countrywide is showing that rental prices in October grew by 0.5%, much lower than the figures from the ONS in the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices. However, if you exclude London, where Countrywide reported negative growth, rental prices increased by 1.2% across Great Britain. An interesting finding from this index is that the number of cash buyers is increasing, with 78% of PRS homes bought in the North East bought with cash.

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UK Finance

UK Finance’s latest Mortgage Trends Update reveals there was strong growth in remortgaging in April 2018, with new homeowner mortgages up 36 per cent and buy-to-let remortgages up 32.4 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier.

Commenting on the data, Jackie Bennett, Director of Mortgages at UK Finance, said:

“Remortgaging activity bounced back to strong levels in April, as both homeowners and landlords put their house in order by locking into attractive fixed-rate deals ahead of an anticipated interest rate rise.

“This spike in remortgaging was also driven by a large number of fixed-term mortgage deal rates coming to an end, combined with increased efforts by lenders to contact their customers before their deal rate expires.

“The number of first-time buyers has grown year on year, outstripping the number of homemovers. This may reflect the impact of measures such as the recent stamp duty cut and the Help to Buy scheme that are focused on getting more people onto the housing ladder.”


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Your Move – Buy-to-Let Index

The latest Buy-to-Let Index from Your-Move for February 2018 found that rents increased by 2.5% in the last year, with average rents to be at £829 per month. The strongest growth has previously been seen in southern areas, however, recently rents in the North West and East Midlands grew faster than anywhere else in the last year, with typical monthly rent in these regions 2.% higher than 12 months ago. Prices were found to have risen in eight out of the ten regions surveyed, London and the North East were the only regions to seel a fall.

Vicki Cullen, Area Lettings Manager, comments:

“Demand in Manchester and East Lancashire remains strong due to the easily accessible commuter and public transport links. The variety of local schools, makes the areas popular with families. In addition large businesses, including local hospitals and universities, also boost employment opportunities.”

“The most popular type of housing is either a 3-bed semi, or a modern 3 to 4 bed detached and those with gardens and garages are always in high demand. We are seeing tenants becomingly interested in the presentation of the house as they expect value for money and good quality homes to rent. A modern kitchen or bathroom will always make a property more appealing and consequently, easier to secure a tenant in a shorter timescale.”

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Right Move – Rental Price Tracker

The Right Move Rental Price Tracker has found that asking rents for properties in the UK fell by 0.2% in Q1 of 2018 to an average of £775, however these rents are still 0.9% above the same quarter in 2016. In London, rents fell by 0.1%, while rents outside of London grew by 0.9%.

Rightmove’s Housing Market Analyst Miles Shipside comments:

“Although the growth in asking rents has slowed over the past few years, people looking for a bigger property could find that they need to look further out than their initial wish list of places, especially in the bigger cities around the country.”

“A look at the first few months of this year shows the usual seasonal trend of asking rents falling slightly compared to the last quarter of last year, but we’re likely to see a rise again next quarter. London asking rents remain flat compared to this time last year, a sign that we are highly unlikely to see the same big increases over the next 10 years that we’ve seen in some areas in the capital over the previous ten years.”


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Latest Research from the RLA

Our latest research is not showing a good outlook for the long-term future of the sector. The proportion of landlords who have sold properties in the past 12 months has continued to increase and is now up four percentage points in comparison to the previous year.

At the same time, the proportion of landlords who are planning to sell properties has increased by two percentage points to 22% of landlords.

The changes to Mortgage Interest Relief have been found to be negatively impacting on landlord finances, with 70% of landlords reporting the changes to MIR would reduce their profitability, with 62% saying the changes would reduce their profitability by at least 20%.

When asked how they would mitigate any negative impact of the changes, most landlords reported they were planning on increasing rents (67%), followed by selling properties to reduce the size of their mortgages (25%) or leaving the sector as a landlord (25%).

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Analysis and comment from the RLA

Dr Tom Simcock, Senior Researcher for the RLA commented on the findings of this month’s RLA PEARL Rental Index:

“The findings are showing a slow-down in the housing market right across England, with sellers, investors and buyers losing confidence. This is likely linked to the economic and political uncertainty the country is experiencing. Property transactions are decreasing, and buy-to-let lending for new purchases continues to decline. ARLA data is showing that demand is outstripping the supply of privately rented homes. The Government needs to take a positive stance towards the private rented sector and support the evolution of the sector into a modern rented sector that works for all. Without this it is unlikely that the needed additional 2 million homes to rent will be available, seriously exacerbating the housing crisis.”


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.