A technical change to an official index undermines everything that ministers have been telling us about private rents.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its latest Index of Private Housing Rental Prices on Friday using improved methodology that puts the annual rent inflation rate at 2.1 per cent since January 2011.
That may not sound like much compared to soaring house prices but that is 75 per cent higher than the 1.2 per cent annual increase for the last four years derived from the old methodology. That had always seemed on the low side given the increases that tenants said they were paying, especially in London.
Here’s an ONS graph showing the difference it makes since January 2012:
-> Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge 2, my blog for Inside Housing
The boast from ministers is that Help to Buy really is getting Britain building – but is it enough?
The narrative according to Eric Pickles is that the coalition ‘inherited a situation where builders couldn’t build, buyers couldn’t buy and lenders wouldn’t lend’. Now, thanks to Help to Buy and the reinvigorated Right to Buy, ‘we’re ensuring that anyone who works hard and wants to get on the property ladder will be able to do so’.
Not to be outdone, housing minister Kris Hopkins said the housebuilding figures for the March quarter of 2014 were the result of a ‘massive government effort’ and even took credit for a 23-year high in council house building. And the DCLG press release comes complete with a statement from Stewart Baseley of the Home Builders Federation that the extension of Help to Buy 1 ‘is allowing the industry to plan ahead, rebuild capacity lost in the downturn and deliver the homes the country needs’.
-> Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing