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From the late 1990s until 2011 CCHPR ran Dataspring, a large dedicated research and consultancy unit specialising in UK social housing data, particularly stock and rents data. The unit has since been absorbed into the mainstream activity of the Centre.


Dataspring had particular expertise in the stock and rents data provided by housing associations in their Regulatory Statistical Returns (RSR) to the Housing Corporation and its successor, the Tenant Services Authority. Indeed, it received generous funding from those bodies. In return Dataspring produced numerous analytical reports and provided advice and guidance on the collection and uses of the data. Dataspring research outputs are shown below.

For many years Dataspring made the data available interactively enabling those working on the sector to access information at local, regional and national levels. These included cross tenure comparisons of rents as well as a time-series stock database that showed stock by type, size, area etc. While we no longer support interactive access the underlying tables are made available below under Guide to Local Rents 2001-2010 and Profile of the Housing Association Sector 2002-2010

Dataspring Projects

A matter of choice? RSL rents and home ownership: a comparison of costs
This Sector Study examines the gap between the weekly costs of home ownership and RSL rents over the last decade and how this varies across the country and the implications for RSLs when setting their rents.
Adapt and Survive: Housing Associations' response to changes in housing policy at the beginning of the new century
Using data from the RSR and CORE, this paper examines recent changes in the Housing Association (HA) sector and interprets these in the light of changing emphases in government housing policy.
Affordability in the Housing Association Sector
This project looks at the affordability in the housing associating (HA) sector. It also compares the position of HA tenants with those in the private rented and owner-occupier sector.
Almshouse Charities
Almshouse charities have been active in providing social housing, mostly for older people, for centuries. This project looks at the profile of almshouse charities registered with the Tenant Services Authority.
Census Briefing paper series
Three reports published during 2003 and 2004 using data from the Census and RSR.
Comparative analysis of private and social sectors’ rates of return 2007-2009
These papers compare the findings on RSL sector and the private rented sector to provide a clear picture of the extent to which rent and rate of return differentials vary by area, type, etc.
Comparing the Costs of Owner Occupation with RSL Rents: A Geographical Analysis
This study examines changes in house prices, RSL rents and the comparative costs of low cost home ownership and RSL renting over the decade 1989/90 to 1998/99.
Comparison of Stock, rents and service charges among different types of social landlords
This project draws comparisons of stock, rents and service charges between four different types of social landlord; Traditional mixed funded Registered Social LandLords (RSLs); RSLs who have taken over local authority stock via Large Scale Voluntary Transfer; Local authorities (retention LAs); and Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO).
Defining the Size of the Housing Association Sector
This project grew out of the need to review the definitions used to calculate the size of the HA sector.
Detailed analysis of the current pattern of RSL rents 2007-2009
As a baseline of reviewing the rent restructuring regime of 2000, this paper will analyse the current pattern of key variables for registered social landlord (RSL) rents at detailed geographical levels. This paper will also assess the current RSL rent patterns in terms of size effects and local effects.
Estimating Rates of Return on Private Sector Rents
The original reason for this research was to assess the extent to which it would be appropriate to use lower quartile house prices as a surrogate for private rents in regional and local analysis in the light of the difficulties in obtaining Rent Officer Service data on the rents they determine for Housing Benefit purposes.
Estimating Rates of Return on Private Sector Rents: 1996/97 to 2005/06
This paper will analyse the relationship between private sector rents and house prices in order to examine the viability of the sector in that rents are the only form of return available to the private sector landlord.
Estimating Rates of Return on Social Sector Rents
This paper will analyse the relationship between social sector rents and house prices in order to examine the viability of the sector in that rents are the only form of return available to the social sector landlord (unlike in the private sector where capital gains are relevant).
Getting Rents Right
The main purpose of this study was to assess the use of the Continuous Recording system of lettings and sales (CORE) by RSLs as a tool to use when measuring affordability.
Guide to Local Rents 2001-2010
Guide to Local Rents was a Dataspring project funded by the Tenant Services Authority, for which outputs were published from 2001 until 2010. Parts I, II and III together provided the data to undertake comparisons of rents geographically for all three rented sectors, between individual HAs and between individual LAs.
Housing Association Rents and Service Charges for Supported Housing and Housing for Older People
Average housing association rents and service charges for the combined categories, supported housing and housing for older people (supported housing /HOP), by local authority area were collected by the Housing Corporation for the first time in 2005. This project looks in detail at these figures.
Housing Association Sector Trends
The HA Sector Trends project brings together 15 years of data from the RSR, the annual census of HAs registered with the TSA to form a cohesive relational database. This gives added value to the data as it can be used for time series analysis to determine trends in the HA sector and relate these to changes in policy, finance and regulation. Such data is also useful for scenario planning for future directions.
Housing Association Service Charges and their Relationship to Rents
Understanding the relationship between rents and service charges is important for all stakeholders in the HA sector. Tenants need to budget for their housing costs by understanding what elements of those costs relate to rent and service charges and which elements of these costs can be met from housing benefit payments.
Housing Association Service Charges for General Needs Housing
This project looks at how service charges applied to general needs stock by housing associations (HA) vary between different property types and sizes, and between types of HA.
Low Cost Home Ownership in Different Housing Markets
The government has identified the need to concentrate investment, both public and private, in the provision of low-cost homeownership (LCHO) as first time buyers find it more and more difficult to access owner-occupation through traditional open market routes. New initiatives are concerned with increasing the role of private finance through equity mortgages as well as providing a range of shared ownership schemes aimed at key workers and pressure areas. This raises important issues for both private finance institution and government: the institutions are taking on new risks about which they know little, while government wishes to target assistance closely on those who cannot achieve owner-occupation in other ways.
Multiplication and division: the distribution of stock between landlords in the housing association sector
This Sector Study builds on the earlier report 'Sector Study 10: The spatial distribution of general needs housing associations and their stock'. This report uses the same measures of concentration to compare distribution of all social housing stock between social landlords within local authorities. It therefore provides a measure of the effect of large scale voluntary transfer on HAs and tenants in transfer LAs in terms of stock distribution and choice.
Profile of the Housing Association Sector 2002-2010
Profile of the HA Sector was a Dataspring project funded by the Tenant Services Authority, for which outputs were published from 2002 until 2010. Publications consisted of sets of data tables and technical papers outlining HA stockholdings and changes within the sector over the year.
Regional and Sub-regional Analyses: Residential Mobility of Social Tenants and Those Entering LCHO in the North Regions
This study concentrates on four aspects of household mobility in the northern regions:The results reflect a generally immobile sector across all regions in the north with very little systematic pattern in terms of the mobility that does occur.
Registered social landlords and changes in rent
The third annual analysis of registered social landlords' performance in limiting rent increases. It was also the first in the series of Sector Studies (Research and Good Practice).
Residential mobility of social tenants and households entering Low Cost Home Ownership (LCHO): A comparison of London and the Northern Regions
This report compares the residential mobility of social tenants and households entering LCHO in London with mobility in the northern regions of England.
RSL Rents: Evidence from the Existing Tenants Survey 2000: Dataspring Discussion Paper 6
This report draws on the Existing Tenants Survey to examine rents in the social housing sector.
Stock Managed Pending Transfer into Ownership
This report uses Regulatory and Statistical Return (RSR) data for 2002 to provide some base data on the number of Housing Associations and units involved in this type of stock management. It breaks data down between types and sizes of HA to examine which HAs are most involved in this type of stock management.
Supported housing/Housing for older people
The evaluation of the changes relating to Sheltered and Supported Housing will take place from September 2005 to the end of January 2006. The first stage will be a quantitative analysis clarifying whether the changes are as expected and therefore whether what has been asked for is what has been reported. This is particularly important in relation to the time series data. In the second stage, any evidence of significant differences will the analysed through interviews with relevant HAs. Depending on the problems encountered there will be a third stage involving a series of interviews with associations where major changes in categorisation have occurred and those who have experienced little change – to assess whether the new definitions reflect real differences; how demands vary between categories of housing; and HA attitudes to the definitions now they have been operationalized.
Target Rents 2004-2011
A series of papers looking at rent restructuring and housing association movement towards target rents.
The growing importance of group structure arrangements in the housing association sector in England
This briefing paper reviews the nature and complexity of HA group structures and their activities in terms of what was learnt about their operational realities, their impact on the current statistical profile of the sector and the implications of this for the TSA (then Housing Corporation) in any review of their approach to groups.

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Right to Buy could mean a loss of 75,000 low-cost homes and a higher Housing Benefit bill

Nov 23, 2015

Replacing housing association homes sold under the new Right to Buy (RTB) scheme with those for sale could drive up costs for low-income tenants and the taxpayer, according to a new report. The new analysis undertaken by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research was published today (20 November) by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It looks at the impact of the tenure of replacement homes.

Introduction to time banking and time credits

Nov 10, 2015

The first working paper of the evaluation of the public health outcomes of the Cambridgeshire Time Credits project in Wisbech has just been published. It provides an overview of time banking and time credits.

Research on the effect of rent stabilisation measures in London

Oct 14, 2015

The London Assembly’s Housing Committee commissioned this study as part of an investigation into the likely impact of a range of rent stabilisation measures on London’s housing market.

How do landlords address poverty? A poverty-focused review of the stratetgies of local authorities, landlords and letting agents in England

Sep 17, 2015

Rising rents, more low‑income households in private renting, reduced funding for house building and welfare reforms present major challenges for landlords and local authorities in England. This research explores how landlords are responding, what can be learnt from their written strategies and plans, and what happens in practice.

Housing policy in a theoretical context

Aug 18, 2015

This academic article by Alan Murie and Peter Williams in the journal Housing Studies explores Jim Kemeny’s political tenure strategies argument via a long view of the evolution of housing policy in the UK. The paper argues for a more refined approach. It has been published on line in August 2015.

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