Handy Collection of Housing Data from Shelter’s Website

Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity organisation, has gathered a range of useful housing datasets within each of the following themes: 

  1. Housing Need
  2. Affordability
  3. Supply
  4. Social and Welfare

 A tool providing these datasets can be accessed here.

These data are taken from the relevant government organisations. They are available at district level, if needed, with regional and national comparisons also available. The facility provides a useful summary and is presented in a user-friendly format; we would encourage you to use it as a starting point for housing statistics. 

The Observatory’s Oscar Yau does have some health warnings though…!

Sources: the source is not always obvious and users may not necessarily know where to direct any queries on the data.

Applicability: most of the time publishers just push the data out without giving the users some guidance or warnings for possible wrong use. It should be the duty of any professional bodies to ensure users do not fall into any traps. One example is the data on Housing Starts and Completions under the Supply section.  These statistics are from CLG’s Live Table 253 and the data in this are based on the NHBC and LA Building Control Inspectors P2Q quarterly return.  If you check the completions figures against any local district’s published figures e.g. from their Local Development Framework’s Annual Monitoring Report, you will find that the values in CLG’s Live Table are always lower. The reason is that the P2Q return does not always capture the full amount due to time pressures and other problems. In this instance the P2Q data is only suitable for a quick snapshot at a specific period i.e. the Treasury’s Monetary Policy Committee required the Starts and Completions stats urgently when they’re setting or revising the interest rate because these two are major items in the set of variables used in their model. 

So although this kind of web site is good, the publishers and the government departments who are responsible for the dataset must ensure the process of publishing the data are managed properly and that users should be given clear guidance so as not misuse the figures.

Oscar has spoken!


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