Housing sector

Annual statistics on stocks and rents in the social housing sector show the impact of the pandemic

The Social Housing Regulator has published statistics on the social housing sector for suppliers registered with private and local authorities, including ownership of shares and rents as of March 31, 2021.

Feedback from all registered social housing providers shows the sector providing 4.4 million homes across England with a net increase of around 25,000 social housing over the year.

The number of affordable rental and low-cost homeownership units has increased, while the number of social rental units has decreased.

General needs housing (social tenancies) still constitutes the majority of the social housing sector at 77% of the total stock, with supported housing at 13% and low cost housing at 7%.

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted registered providers in various ways.

Measures in place to protect tenants have led to a dramatic drop in evictions by registered private providers from over 10,000 to less than 800.

The pandemic also affected inventory changes.

In 2021, registered private providers again increased the number of low-cost rental units they offered. However, this is the lowest annual increase since 2014.

Local authority providers saw a further decline in the number of low-cost rental units. However, this is the smallest annual decline since 2012.

Both private operators and local authorities have continued to develop and acquire housing, with nearly 25,000 social rental housing units and 14,000 social housing units for home buyers joining the stock.

For-profit providers continue to increase their inventory, with more than 4,000 homes added during the year.

About three-quarters of this growth is attributable to low-cost home ownership. However, the inventory held by for-profit suppliers represents a very small proportion (0.5%) of the overall inventory.

As expected, rents increased during the year.

The average increase in weekly net rent for general needs (social rent) was 2.7%, which is in line with the CPI+1% ceiling.

This increase follows the decline in rents throughout the area over the previous four years.

The average weekly rent for general needs in England was £92.84 with continued regional variation.

Rents were lowest in the North East (£77.67) and highest in London (£114.44).

Will Perry, Chief Strategy Officer at RSH, said:

“Data from this year’s Statistical Data Statement and Local Authority Data Statement show the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on evictions and changes in inventory, as well as rent increases in line with the limit set by the government.

Collecting this data helps us take a risk-based and proportionate approach to regulation, both for local authorities and registered private providers, and makes a valuable contribution to national statistics. »