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Isle of Wight Council

Paycheck data helps reveal the true picture of local housing needs


The Isle of Wight Council is a unitary authority located on the Isle of Wight near the south coast of England. It is made up of 40 councillors from 39 wards. The Council is responsible for all local government activities on the Island.

The Isle of Wight is a beautiful, interesting and relaxing place to be. While the pace of life may be slower on the Island, the Isle of Wight Council is an innovative, forward thinking and dynamic organisation. The Council has an ambitious corporate plan with a vision for the Isle of Wight to be an inspiring place in which to grow up, work, live and visit.


  • Danika Barber, Public Health and Strategic Analytics Lead explains: “We looked at what other councils had done to quantify affordability and knew that we needed to understand incomes across the Island in order to put house prices and rent costs in context of the local, permanent population.”
  • Danika and her team recognised that they needed to account for the typically more expensive second homes and holiday rentals on the Island, as well as a ‘hidden homeless’ population such as extended and overcrowded households, those in unstable tenancies and those key workers in less well paid roles who are vital to the Island economy.


  • The work was commissioned by the Island Housing Conversation, a Regeneration Department project designed to inform and work with local councillors, housing providers and developers. The goal is to support stakeholders in building new homes of the right types and sizes in the right places to meet our local population’s needs.
  • Danika and her team used land registry square footage data to show how affordable the different sized properties are. It’s true that on the Island, unlike some other areas of the UK, more residents can afford to buy or rent a flat. But most can’t afford to buy a three-bedroom home to accommodate a family.
  • Looking at the overall UK picture, house prices appear cheaper on the Island. But salaries and incomes are much lower. Connecting house prices with real earnings at a granular level showed true affordability in each ward.


  1. The interactive tool is really powerful, making the information and data meaningful and impactful.
  2. People understood the implications immediately. When we showed the interactive map for lower quartile income affordability, it raised a gasp from the audience. Residents in this group cannot afford to buy or rent anywhere. It’s vital that we address this, for the well-being of our population and the health of the local economy.
  3. The data insight was very well received at the meeting and afterwards. It was successful because of the combination of relevant, granular data and the visual presentation in PowerBI.
  4. Other departments asked Danika what PowerBI could do for them – they wanted to be able to visualise data in a similar way and understand local differences and needs in the Island population.
  5. Danika’s team has also been using PowerBI to present Covid-19 data and work is underway to develop a range of other similar dashboards for other business areas.

Further information

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"This is a very significant piece of work for our Housing Strategy, developing an innovative data tool for assessing what affordable housing means in an Island context. This can now be used for Planning Policy, Housing and Regeneration Strategies and cuts across Homelessness and Adult Social Care. It gives politicians answers to thorny questions about affordability in their wards. Data consultancy firms would normally charge around 50K just for the wage and house price and rental data, leaving us with an overview and lots of printed tables. Instead, the team spent time  with me understanding the complexities and methodology of housing and determining affordable rent levels. After we purchased the relevant data at a much lower cost, they created a visual interactive tool that can be used to answer tricky questions on an on-going basis. With this tool, we can produce real service impacts going forward. We can identify the critical housing issues we need to address, and - importantly - the ones we don’t".

Paul Thomas, Assistant Director, Regeneration
Isle of Wight Council
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Kensington Village
Avonmore Road
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Isle of Wight Council