The Data Observatory

The NRLA Data Observatory is a collection of official and other well-established data sources which when combined, provide a narrative of the Private Rented Sector (PRS). The NRLA tracks approximately 45 key data sets which are updated monthly, quarterly and annually. A selection of these appear in these pages.

Our Deep Insight blog provides a regular extension of the analysis which appears here, as well as those datasets which are not published in the Data Observatory section of this website.

The blog pages also features blog posts from other organisations and academics to provide insight on the PRS. Here you can also find more in-depth summaries of our regular reports and surveys.

Growth & the PRS


Chart 1: Change in GDP-measured quarterly

2020 GDP Qtr 1

This data shows the impact of coronavirus on the UK economy, and the extent to which the economy has recovered during the thrid quarter of 2020.. 

Quarter 2 was the largest quarterly contraction in the UK economy since ONS records began in 1955.  Quarter 3 was also an ONS record: The 15.5% growth in Quarter 3 was the largest economic expansion since 1955.

However, the level of GDP in the UK is still 9.7% below where it was prior to the pandemic at the end of 2019. Compared with the same quarter a year ago, the UK economy fell by 9.6%.  This is well below the levels experienced in other post-war recessions.

In Quarter 3 2020, construction output increased by 41.7%. However, the level of construction output remains 11.5% below its level in Quarter 4 2019, following a 35.7% decline in the previous quarter. Private new housing was the largest contributor to growth in the third quarter. The ONS point to intelligence to indicate much of the activty was to complete projects rather than starting new projects.

Note that GDP is always subject to some revision. The data presented here is based on the ONS GDP first quarterly estimate published in November 2020.

You can read more about the current performance of the UK economy here.  

Changes in price indices

Chart 2: Private rental price changes compared to other price indices - October 2020

The table above focuses on price changes in the economy since 2016. It shows three different measures of price change. Firstly, the Consumer Price Index (favoured by economists as the measure of overall price change in the economy). Secondly the CPIH which factors in the housing costs of owner occupiers. Finally the chart shows the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP) – an index tracking the prices paid for renting property from private landlords in the UK.

Like the other price indices, the IPHRP is compiled by the ONS. It is the best available measure of housing costs in the Private Rented Sector amongst both new and existing tenants.

In October the IPHRP index remained constant at 109.6. This means UK rental prices in the private sector have grown 9.6% since January 2015 (the base period for the index). 

It is further evicence that rental price increases are slowing down. Since January 2020 the rental price index has grown by 0.55%. This is 15% lower than growth over the same period last year. 

This slow down is accelerating. Over the three-montb period August-October the increase in the index for 2020 (0.09%) was less than half that in the same period last year (0.19%)     



The IPHRP (Index of Private Housing Rental Prices) is “an experimental price index tracking the prices paid for renting property from private landlords in the United Kingdom.” (ONS). For more information on why the IPHRP should be the go-to measure of rental price change see this article here.

Wages & the PRS

Chart 3: A comparison between wages & rental prices (Latest figures: September 2020 & October 2020)

This chart shows the growth in real wages (allowing for inflation) against the growth in the IPHRP.  It shows the dramatic impact on real wages the coronavirus has had on the economy. 

Prior to the virus, the index of real wages grew noticably between Feb 2018 and the summer of 2019.  Since the autumn of 2019 however the growth in real wages stalled, this was particularly noticable at the start of 2020. 

September saw wages continue to increase, though at a much reduced rate of growth than August - August being a month in which more people returned to work from furlough.

Average real wages across Great Britain were reported as being £509 per week with average weekly earnings being £553pw (seasonally adjusted).  The measure presented here is derived from company payrolls.  At least some of the recent rise in average wages (in June for example average wages were £488pw) will, unfortunately, be due to lower paid staff losing their jobs and falling off the company payroll.  There is more about the impact of Coronavirus on wages in Great Britain here. 




[Note that in this chart, wages are at a GB level but we selected IPHRP on a UK-wide statistic. This is simply because the two data series have a common base year.]  Wage data is prone to revisions, which can be significant. In June for example wage growth was initially -2.0%pa before being revised to -2.3%.   Note that the data on wages is based on surveys of employers and do not include self-employed workers.