The Office for National Statistics has produced its first private rental price indices.
However, unlike the house sales index, the ONS already produces each month, the rental version – despite its title – contains no actual prices. Instead, it contents itself with a series of percentages.
The ONS’s Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP) is also described as “experimental” and a health warning recommends that caution be exercised when drawing conclusions from the data, as the index is likely to be developed further.
The first index, published yesterday, says that between May 2012 and May 2013, private rental prices in Great Britain rose by 1.3%. Private rents in Britain excluding London rose by 0.8% in the same period.
In the same period, private rental prices grew by 1.3% in England, 1.0% in Scotland and 1.5% in Wales.
Rents increased in eight of the nine English regions in the year. The largest private rental price increases were in London at 2.2% and the South-East at 1.2%. Rents decreased by 0.1% in the North-East.
Over the eight years between May 2005 and May 2013, says the index, private rental prices increased by 8.4% in England. During this period private rental prices increased the most in London (11.0%) and the East (8.3%), and the least in the North-East (5.2%) and the East Midlands (5.3%).
According to the Valuation Office Agency, reporting in March, national average rents are £724.
The data showed that rent inflation has not only undershot inflation over the past year, but also over the past eight years.