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Modelling housing career trajectories


What can surveys and consumer big data tell us about UK residential dynamics?

Project Summary

The ‘Modelling housing career trajectories in Great Britain’ project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) under the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative [ES/S016422/1]. The project runs from January 2020 to June 2021 and is led by UCL Geography’s Rory Coulter, in collaboration with Paul Longley. Joanna Kuleszo and Bin Chi are project-affiliated Data Scientists.

The project aims to examine demographic, socioeconomic and spatial disparities in the housing tenures and types of neighbourhood that people move through over the course of their lives. Our focus is on the 1998 to 2018 period when the UK housing system changed dramatically as levels of owner-occupation declined, house prices appreciated and levels of private renting roughly doubled. These changes have had major consequences for people’s lives and broader patterns of social and spatial inequality.

The project aims will be achieved by analysing two sets of ESRC-supported longitudinal data resources:

  • Large household panel surveys - primarily the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society.
  • The Electoral and Consumer Registers compiled by the UCL Consumer Data Research Centre, enriched with administrative data on housing transactions from the Land Registry and Registers of Scotland.

In the long-term, the project aims to lay the groundwork for developing further methodologically integrated and highly granular representations of housing system dynamics in Britain.


May 4th 2021: Invitation-only workshop was held to discuss plans for the project's housing data dashboard resource.

June 24th 2021: Stakeholder workshop to (i) showcase project and broader CDRC-related work on housing and residential mobility and (ii) launch an online housing data tool.


Project briefing notes

Briefing Note 1 (New data) summarises the generation of CDRC's Linked Consumer Registers and describes their research potential.

Briefing Note 2 (Estimating moving distances and social mobility) summarises the creation of experimental indices for measuring the attributes of residential moves.

Briefing Note 3 (Housing space) describes the linkage of dwelling attribute data (including floor space) from Energy Performance Certificates with the Linked Consumer Registers.

Briefing Note 4 (Rental markets) examines how consumer data from a major rental listings website can provide useful estimates of tenant mobility and private rent levels across England and Wales.

Academic outputs

Kuleszo, J; Coulter, R; van Dijk, J; Longley, P (2021) Linking consumer datasets to chart residential moves in private rental housing in England and Wales. In: Proceedings of the 29th Annual GIS Research UK Conference (GISRUK).

Additional works are in progress and this page will be updated with details as these become available.

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