Saturday, April 14, 2018

Faking the figures

Dominic Raab, the housing minister who claimed in an interview that immigration had “put house prices up by something like 20%” over the past 25 years.

The UK Statistics Authority asked Raab, a leading Brexiter, to publish the evidence for his claim. A document published on Friday by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows that the finding was based on an out-of-date model that had never been intended for this kind of analysis.

The research was conducted using an affordability model described a decade ago in reports by the long-defunct National Housing and Planning Advice Unit. It shows that between 1991 and 2016, the population of England grew from 47.1 million to 54.5 million; the number of non-UK-born residents grew from 3.5 million to 8.4 million over the same period.
But population was one of many factors that had a bearing on house prices. The impact of immigrant households is only a small part of the total. Real income growth, for example, would have pushed up prices by 150%, according to the analysis.
Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics and public policy at King’s College London, said the evidence on which Raab’s claim was based was so flimsy it could not be described as research.

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