I received the following “Top 20 areas of North Yorkshire’s rental market revealed” through LinkedIn today and I was keen to see the report.
It’s only short and when I’d finished I wasn’t sure what I’d learnt, if anything. Then a closer look revealed … nothing!
After the introductory fluff, the first pertinent table allegedly shows the comparative ‘size’ of the rental markets in towns and cities. It shows Middlesbrough (spelling it incorrectly with an extra ‘o’ by the way) as by far the largest ‘market’, quoting it as 35% of the total North Yorkshire market, with Richmond at 25%, York at 17% and Harrogate at 7.2%. Wow! Interesting.
Hang on! Richmond at 25%?! Richmond has a population of 8,500? Even the whole of Richmondshire is only 53,000 (North Yorkshire has a population of about 1.3m) how can it be 25% of the market?
I look again … the statistics are an “analysis of rental prices (in advertised rents) for homes to let”. Which means these are rental asking prices – for rentals that have not yet let. So really it does not show the size of the rental market at all, it more accurately describes what is NOT renting! Therefore on this data scrape you might be better assuming that Middlesbrough is critically over-supplied and be looking at the lower percentages where there isn’t such a high surplus on the market. No?
No. This data has absolutely no meaning at all – the size of the location is not considered – a low percentage location might still be over-supplied using this data. I can’t actually work out what this data is telling me. Certainly not quickly, which is what data is supposed to do.
What about the next table ‘Top5 rental markets … on rent’?
1. Richmond: £1798 pcm
2. York: £1395 pcm
3. Harrogate: £823 pcm
4. Scarborough: £477 pcm
5. Middlesborough: £425 pcm
In my humble opinion, similarly useless. So Middlesbrough, although substantially highest in the ‘market size’ rank of the first table, is 5th with a rental figure less than a quarter of Richmond. I can sort of extrapolate from the two sets of figures that Middlesbrough has a lot more properties available at much lower rents than Richmond. But now I’m trying to guess what’s going on with Richmond, commanding such high rents – perhaps there are a significant number of very large, rural houses which are not letting and skewing the data.
What data? It’s a mess. Does any of this inform investment decisions or help me define the best rental markets in the region? Emphatically not. Useless. A waste of my time reading and trying to understand this ‘report’ and of the agent’s time in originally producing it. I suppose at least I got a blog post out of it – but not the positive kind of post the originator of the ‘report’ was looking for.