Landlords question rental figure focus

* Figures quoted sometimes use "advertised" rather than "achieved" rents;
* Figures are only based on new lets and do not take account of occupiers who are not moving, and who will often not see their rents rise annually;
* There are only small sample sizes in some surveys.

The portrayal of such figures can also leave a lot to be desired. For example, one story suggested rents were rising rapidly in market rented sector, even though a 10% figure over four years would have undershot CPI inflation and been less than the rise in social housing rents. Another, that forecast rental rise of 2% was somehow excessive, even although recent growth in inflation exceeds this, and 2% is on a par with recent average earnings growth.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: "Some of the figures that have been bandied around trumpeting large rent increases are very misleading and do not reflect the picture across the entire country.

"While in some hotspots rents are rising more than average, across the country as a whole about 85% of rents are rising below CPI according to reliable VOA figures.

"For a long time we’ve been calling for more reliable rental figures and I welcome the UK National Statistics consultation that has just closed, which is looking to improve its statistics on residential rents, and we support the suggested switch to Valuation Office data. The larger sample size should lead to improvements in the quality of data and provide a more comprehensive picture across the whole market."

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