Published: 18 May, 2012
• DESPITE claims to the contrary, there is a ream of evidence to support that real-term rents across the country have come down over the past year – as long as you can separate fact from fiction (Minister challenged over claim that private renting ‘figures are falling’ in capital, May 4).
Councillor Catherine West has said “the issue in question is whether rents in London are rising or not”.
The data shows that they are not.
As a government minister I believe it’s important to base this discussion on simple evidence.
The Shelter report cited by Cllr West relies on speculation, omitting homes and massaging six months’ worth of figures to create a fictional 12-month increase.
In reality, the Valuation Office Agency figures used showed a 1.2 per cent increase across London rents over six months – compared to 1.9 per cent inflation.
The supposed 11 per cent rise in Islington is, in fact, around three per cent.
The evidence is clear: allowing for inflation, the 2010-11 English Housing Survey shows an average real-terms national decrease in rents of at least 1.5 per cent, and an LSL Property Services report shows a small fall in rents in the first three months of this year.
This is part of a long-term trend. Economist Professor Michael Ball has reported that private rents fell by more than a tenth in real terms between 2008 and 2011.
I hope Cllr West and the Tribune will take care in future to reference accurate numbers before making accusations based on speculative sums.
Minister for housing and local government