Civil servants source buy to let data on advertising web siteMake Text Bigger
Despite employing researchers, analysts and economists to filter and interpret vast amounts of housing data, the secrets finally out – the government picks up figures about the buy to let market from an advertising web site.
While the marketing people at www.findaproperty.com are probably ecstatic at this endorsement, it seems astonishing that minister’s cobble together unproved data from the internet as the basis of responses to questions in the Houses of Parliament.
Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith revealed the snippet about www.findaproperty.com while admitting he had misquoted figures used in a debate on housing benefit.
He originally said the figures, which he used to suggest landlords were taking advantage of local housing allowance to drive up rents, were from the Office for National Statistics.
In his statement, he admitted the figures in fact came from the property web site.
Minister admits government cribs data online
“The source of this statistic, as published in Department of Work and Pension’s analytical supplement to the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry, is the Find a Property private rental index,” he said.
“This source for rental data has been used by the department and wider Government since 2008 when the Department for Communities and Local Government stopped producing their own private rental index.”
The next question has to be that if the government needs these statistics, why are they not collected and verified as an official index.
The Department of Communities and Local Government and the Land Registry monitor house price and transaction statistics. Both produce average house price data monthly.
The www.findaproperty.com rental index is one of several regularly output – others include LSL Property Services, the UK’s largest letting agent; The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors quarterly residential rental review and another by letting agent franchise Belvoir.
The latest findaproperty.com rental index is available at http://www.findaproperty.com/press/rental-index.aspx
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