PPIW Report Publication – The Potential Role of the Private Rented Sector in Wales

The Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty asked the Public Policy Institute for Wales to analyse the growth in the private rented sector (PRS) over the last decade. Professor Christine Whitehead and Kath Scanlon at the London School of Economics were commissioned to undertake this analysis.

The shift towards private renting is the largest structural change in the Welsh housing market for at least two generations. Between 2001 and 2013, the private rented sector more than doubled in size, accommodating 80% of the growth in households over the same period. New build over the period, while directed at social and owner-occupied sectors, has hardly affected the scale of provision in these tenures.

The analysis presented here highlights some of the issues and questions that arise from this.

  • If this trend is to continue, it suggests that a significant proportion of future need and demand for housing will be met through the PRS, with implications for government subsidy.
  • Preliminary analysis suggests that there are areas of growth in private renting where there are concentrations of unemployment, low income and poor quality housing. This needs further investigation, but if true is a cause for concern.
  • There are areas where the difference between social and market rents suggest that there may be excess supply in the social sector, and the case for further investment in social housing should be carefully assessed.

To view the report, please click here.