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.


Please note that covid-19 has affected the collection and publication of data, particularly data which is collected by local authorities. This means data is not as upto date as usual.  

Lending & housebuilding

Bank lending

Chart 1: Residential & BTL (Buy-to-Let) lending activity

Lending statistics from Bank of England

Landlord borrowing continued along its precipitous downward path at the end of 2023.  Since 2022 Qtr 2 the proportion of Buy-to-Let (BTL) lending as a percentage of all new residential loans has fallen steeply.

In the last quarter of 2023, BTL loans accounted for just 6.96% of all new advances on residential property.  This was down from 7.49% in the previous quarter. In quarter 4 of 2022 meanwhile, BTL lending stood at 11.87% of total lending.

At the same time, the overall lending market continues to be down – with bank lending on the chart, at just over £54,000m down from £81,600m in the same quarter of the previous year. Note that these figures are “current prices” and take no account of inflation.

The data underlines the findings of NRLA surveys which have consistently highlighted landlords’ reluctance to purchase property for residential let.

Housebuilding - England

Chart 2: House completions - England

Chart 2 - Housing completions England

In the fourth quarter of 2023, there were 42,230 housing completions in England.

  • This was an increase from the previous quarter's figure of 38,600.

A closer look at the data reveals:

  • Despite the increase from Quarter 3, completions remain below both the five-year (47,872) and the ten-year averages (44,430) for the fourth quarter.
  • Note the fourth quarter is traditionally a strong period for housing completions - it was 2012 when the highest number of quarterly completions in any calendar year was not the final quarter.

Social Dwellings

The social housing sector continued its recent relative strength in Q4 2023, with 27.3% of all dwellings completed as social housing,

  • This accounts for 11,520 units.
  • This proportion is a rise from 20.5% recorded in the previous quarter.
  • It is the fourth consectuive quarter in which social housing completions account for over 20% of the total. 

In each and every quarter in 2023 were social housing completions more than 20% of total completions. 

  • This is the first time since 2012 that this has happened 

This quarter also saw:

  • The highest number of social dwellings completed as a percentage of total completions since Q1 2015 (28.2%)
  • The highest absolute number of social dwellings completed in any single quarter since Q1 1983 (12,270).

Housebuilding - Wales

Chart 3: Housing completions in Wales (Annual data)

New dwellings completed in Wales - annual

After a long interval StatsWales has recently begun to publish housing completion statistics once more. Note that alongside the data is the following note: 

"There is currently an undercount in the number of dwellings completed though this is estimated to be quite small." 

This is a result of the counting methodology and is not Covid-19 related. 

Total dwellings 

In 2022/23, total dwelling completions rose to 5,785, marking a 9.7% increase from the 5,273 in the previous year.  

  • It is also above the five-year average for total dwellings (5,498).  

Social dwellings 

Social housing completions remained stable in 2022/23 at 1,203, almost unchanged from the 1,215 completed in 2021/22.  

  • However, the proportion of total completions accounted for by social housing increased to 20.8% in 2022/23, up from 16.7% in 2021/22.  

Private dwellings 

There were approximately 4,582 private dwellings completed in 2022/23. This is a slight increase compared to the 4,391 2021/22. 

  • However, this is the highest number of private completions since 2019/20 (4,773).

Chart 4: Housing completions in Wales (Quarterly data)

Wales Housing completions - quarterly (data not collected during Covid-19)

The third quarter of 2023/24 (Oct-Dec) saw a total of 1,539 housing completions in Wales.

  • This is an increase of 53% from the previous quarter (Jul-Sep) - which had 1,005 completions.  
  • However, it represents decrease of 14.5% compared to the same quarter in the previous year (2022/23), which recorded 1,805 dwelling completions.

The cumulative number of completions in the three quarters of 2023 presently stands at 3,652.

  • This indicates a modest recovery in the housing industry from the lower-than-average numbers recorded in Q1 (1,108) and Q2 (1050) in 2023.

However, these figures are 22.9% lower than the combined total for the same period in the previous year (2022), when 4,735 dwellings were completed.

  • These latest fugures are the lowest total number of dwellings completed in these three quarters since data collection began in 1974.*

*Note that the total for 2023-24 is the lowest for these quarters, not including the years affected by COVID-19 (2020-21 and 2021-22).


(There is a gap in data collection due to Covid-19)