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

  • The figures for Quarter 2 2020 show the impact of covid-19 on UK residential lending actiivty. The drop in Q2 from £65bn in quarter 1 to £44bn is clear.
  • Typically Q3 is the strongest quarter of the year - we know that property sales were said to be strong in the immediate lifting of lockdown  
  • Landlord sales as a proportion of lending have held up - the proportion has shown a small increase - but obviously with a much lower base.


Chart 2: House completions - England

The above chart highlights how crucial the PRS is in the supply of homes.

The pattern is one of slowly growing volumes of dwelling completions, whilst there has been a decline in the proportion of dwelling completions intended for social housing. That said, the data for Q4 2019 WAS encouraging:

  • Private dwelling completions in Q4 was just under 50,000. This is the highest number of completions this century.
  • Social housing volumes – of which Housing Association completions make up the bulk of completions – also grew. The 10,000 social housing completions in Q4 was the highest quarterly number of completions since at least the turn of the century (when our coverage of this data began).

Chart 3: Housing completions in Wales

The pattern of dwelling completions in Wales shows a combination of: 

Low – and declining – volumes of house completions:

  • The 21st Century peak for Wales was in 2006/07 (not shown) when housing volumes was just over 9,300 completions for the year: for the last year volume was just 60% of that level.

Low numbers of social housing completions:

  • Though volumes of social housing completions are growingand are actually at a 21st century high, social housing dwellings are being built at a level of just over 1,200 units per annum. 
  • Note that since 2000/01, just 345 local authority built dwellings have been completed in Wales.