Has the government created definitive rental index?

Has the government created definitive rental index?

With almost as many rental indices as house price indices - LAT reckons there are 11 different monthly rental versions now available - has the definitive guide come from, of all sources, the government?

The Office of National Statistics’ first calendar year of its so-called ‘experimental’ index has just produced results which appear to roughly accord with sentiments emerging from many lettings agents around the country. It says that across Britain private rents rose one per cent in 2013 with the highest increases of 1.6 per cent being seen, predictably, in London.


The ONS says it is still developing the exact methodology for the index, which was first published last June. It currently uses private rental data from so-called ‘rental officers’ employed by the Valuation Office Agency and the Scottish and Welsh governments. 


LAT has been outspoken in its scepticism of the flurry of price indices released by government departments, mortgage lenders, surveyors and agents - as well as less sophisticated indices from those on the periphery of the industry merely seeking publicity. 


This new rental index might just be the definitive version, the lettings equivalent of the Land Registry’s data about house sales.


Meanwhile for those checking other rental indices, data just in from Sequence claims annual rents across Britain are up eight per cent in the past year (and up just three per cent in London).