The re-growth of private renting is the most significant change to the UK housing system in the last 20 years.
This project examines the potential for big data to provide a better understanding of how the sector is changing and the consequences for UK cities and citizens.
Aims and objectives
The aim of this project is to explore the strengths and limitations of big data as a means of studying this dynamic sector. UBDC has secured access to various kinds of data, from databases of commercial lettings firms to the listings from statutory landlord registration systems.
Our first objective is to understand more about the quality of these data: how well they represent the sector or different parts of it, and how we might combine them with other data sources to reduce biases and improve quality.
We will then use them to address a range of specific questions, relevant to current debates about urban development. For example:
- Has the re-growth of private renting contributed to the suburbanisation of poverty in UK cities? See 'The suburbanisation of poverty in British cities, 2004-16: extent, processes and nature' paper for a description of the latter phenomenon.
- What are the impacts of the recent Scottish legislative changes on private rental supply and on access to the sector for low income groups?
We are also looking at access to data to study the rise of the short-term lettings market (AirBnB and similar operations) and its impacts on the longer-term private rental accommodation.
Leads: Dr. Mark Livingston and Prof. Nick Bailey
Team: Dr. Yashar Moshfeghi, Prof. Ken Gibb, Andrew Watson
- Paper: Livingston, M., Pannullo, F., Bowman, A. W., Scott, E. M. and Bailey, N. (2021) Exploiting new forms of data to study the private rented sector: strengths and limitations of a database of rental listings. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), (doi: 10.1111/rssa.12643)
- Paper: Bailey, N. (2020) Poverty and the re-growth of private renting in the UK, 1994-2018. PLoS ONE, 15(2), e0228273. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0228273)
- Briefing for Scottish Parliament 05/2019: Overview of private rented housing reforms in Scotland
- Presentation 11/2018: The re-growth of private renting and the suburbanisation of poverty in the UK (PDF 0.7MB)
- Presentation 11/2018: What does Big Data tell us about the private rental sector: validating online rental advertising data, research from ONS and UBDC (PDF 0.8MB)
- Briefing for Scottish Parliament 11/2018: Private Renting Reforms: how to evidence the impact of legislation