Buy to let rent surveys just don’t add up

The buy to let rent index merry-go-round has seen further movement as three firms have released their latest data.

Depending on which survey you read, rents are definitely going up or down – and the difference between the highest rise and biggest fall is a massive 15.32%.

The UK has no official rental index, so several companies try to fill the void.

The three best know are:

LSL Property Services, which claims to be the country’s largest letting agent network and manage brands like Your Move and Reeds Rains.

Homelet , claiming to be the country’s largest tenant referencing firm for letting agents and landlords

Move With Us – An online portal offering services to landlords and property businesses

The problem is each firm’s market reports show wide variations, but they are rarely published side by side so landlords can compare the figures – so here are the April 2013 buy to let rental figures distilled from each:

London – Average rents April 2013

LSL

Homelet

Move with Us

Average rent

£1,110

£1,179

£2,182

Monthly variation

+0.4%

+0.7%

+0.2%

Annual variation

+7.6%

+4.8%

-7.66%

England & Wales – Average rents April 2013

LSL

Homelet

Move with Us

Average rent

£736

£793

£966

Annual variation

+3.9%

+2.4%

+0.49%

The figures are different because each index is calculated from a different sample of properties and by different methodology.

For instance, Move with Us base average rents on advertised asking prices which may be vastly different from actual rents paid, while Homelet uses agreed rents between tenants and landlords. LSL is based on rents on properties advertised through the firm’s branches.

Another reason why the figures may be inaccurate is location. If the rental figures come from letting agents with branches in poorer or more affluent areas, this would skew the results.

Read the reports:

LSL Property Services

Homelet

Move with Us

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