Annex D – Comparability to Other Government Sources of Rental Data
Rent Service Scotland 30th Percentile Rent Figures:
Annual information on the 30th percentile of weekly private sector rents by bedroom size is published on the Scottish Government website. alongside corresponding information on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Rates.
There may be a small number of minor differences in the data that has been used for 30th percentile calculations compared with the data used for this publication, because the Market Evidence Database is a live database and therefore over time there may be some records that are updated to reflect that more up-to-date information becomes available. In addition, there may be some minor differences to how the data is extracted for statistical purposes, including the use of additional statistical quality assurance or due to different points in time that the data is extracted, compared to management information reports obtained from the operational database.
The 30th percentile rents are also presented as weekly rents, rather than the calendar month figures presented in this statistical publication. Monthly rents are seen as a more user friendly way of presenting the data in this publication given that private rents are typically paid in periods of calendar months.
ONS Index of Private Housing Rental Prices:
The ONS Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP). is a monthly experimental price index. It tracks the prices paid for renting property from private landlords in the UK, including an index at a Scotland level.
Whilst the ONS Index uses same raw data as the Rent Service Scotland 'Market Evidence Database' in compiling the Scotland level results, there are some important differences to how the data are processed and used:
- The ONS Index uses the rental data to create a matched-sample dataset to ensure that only like-for-like properties are compared over time.
- The ONS matched-sample dataset retains rental records for a period of time (an assumption based on average tenancy length), and it is therefore an attempt to measure rental price changes for all rents (a 'stock' based measure) and not just a measure of recent rental market evidence (a 'flow' based measure).
- The ONS Index is mix-adjusted in that it uses expenditure weights to adjust to the overall distribution of types of properties in the rental market (by expenditure).
- The Index does not provide any information on actual rental levels, and the Index values provided are not available at a sub-Scotland basis.
Further details of the methodology used to calculate the IPHRP can be found in a June 2013 IPHRP article, supplemented by a January 2015 article on Improvements to the measurement of Owner Occupiers' Housing Costs and Private Housing Rental Prices. Additional information is available in documents on Quality and Methodology Information and Quality Assurance of Administrative Data. ONS have also produced a recent January 2021 article on comparisons of measures of private rental growth in the UK.
Given the different methodologies used we would not always expect the ONS Index and Private Sector Rent Statistics for Scotland to show the same results. The ONS Index results provide estimates of like-for-like changes over time in rental prices across all private rented households (whether existing tenants or new lets) in Scotland, but do not provide any information on actual rent levels or on trends below the Scotland level. Whereas the Private Sector Rent Statistics for Scotland publication allows an assessment of market-evidence average rents, along with changes over time at a BRMA level and by property size, although some caution is needed in interpreting the results given that the composition and quality of private rental stock can vary by area and can change over time.
Following the Digital Economy Act 2017, the ONS gained access to Valuation Office Agency (VOA) private rental microdata. ONS are now carrying out some work to re-develop the IPHRP and private rental market summary statistics (PRMS) to produce mix-adjusted average rental prices that are comparable over time and geography down to lower geographic levels, to better meet user needs.
While work has been ongoing to finalise the methodology, ONS will now need to spend more time ensuring the production system is developed on a strategic platform and is sustainable. This has resulted in the initial timetable for the rents development work being out of date. More information and an updated timetable for these developments is available in the Private rental prices development plan: January 2021.
ONS Private Rental Market Statistics for England:
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publish Private rental market summary statistics in England (PRMS), which is published twice-yearly. Whilst it presents similar looking statistics to this publication, there are some differences which may affect any comparisons including that the ONS statistics present average rents for English Government Region and Local Authority areas, and not by Broad Rental Market Area.
In addition, rent for 1 bedroom shared properties is presented as gross rather than net of any shared services, and also properties with 5 or more bedrooms are included, not excluded.
Private Rental Market Statistics for Wales:
The Welsh Government publish annual statistics. on rents paid in the private sector in Wales. These present average rents by Local Authority areas, and not by Broad Rental Market Area, and rent for 1 bedroom shared properties is presented as gross rather than net of any shared services, which may impact on any comparisons made.
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