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What the different monthly house price reports show

Like to keep an eye on the housing market? Whether out of professional or personal interest, it can be hard to know which information sources are the most useful. You’ll often find that while some house price reports agree on the facts some can be quite conflicting.

To help you cut through the noise we’ve written a guide about seven of the top house price indices. We’ve highlighted the pros and cons of each so you can decide which to read.

1. Land Registry House Price Reports

Land Registry house prices reports are by far the most reliable source of information when it comes to house prices. Government run, the Land Registry keeps a record of all land and property ownership in England and Wales. They report average asking prices from sales that have completed the previous month, including both cash and mortgage purchases. They also release reports on monthly and annual changes in property prices.

Founded in 2005, the Land Registry includes data going back to 1995. Their index is the only one which takes into account the final price of all sales, mortgaged or not. In terms of limitations, reports don’t address properties that have been owned by the same people for a long time. They also don’t address the prices of new-build properties. Additionally as all data is revaluated each month (to take into account the delay between a sale completing and the registration of the sale with Land Registry) figures will occasionally change, however in the long run their monthly house price reports are the most informative and reliable.

2. Office for National Statistics (ONS) House Price Reports

The Office for National Statistics are the government’s official data collectors. Their monthly house price reports on the average prices on completion for properties in the UK. Data is segmented by property type, buyer type and region.

House price data from the ONS not only includes seasonally adjusted data but also national unadjusted figures. The index is also mix-adjusted. However, it’s worth taking into account the fact that their figures may be affected by increases in property prices within the more expensive areas and influenced by the demand for properties at the higher end of the price scale.

3. LSL Property Services/Acadametrics House Price Reports

Acadametrics are an asset valuation service provider, who provide risk assessments in regards to property and mortgage portfolios. They use data provided by the Land Registry to show the average price of properties in England and Wales (there’s a separate report for Scotland) that have had sales completed and registered on the Land Registry in the previous month. It also shows changes occurring monthly and yearly as well as how many sales have gone through.

Acadametrics seasonally adjust their reports, and data from the Land Registry is received by them and ‘mix-adjusted’. That means it takes into account different types of properties when deciding what represents the average home. Therefore, reports aren’t affected if a large number of 1 bedroom flats are sold in an area one month and a large number of large family homes are sold elsewhere the next.

Using a special ‘index of indices’ model, Acadametrics take into account the fact that not all sold properties are registered with the Land Registry before the end of that month. This model allows them to make educated projections on what the final numbers will be. Although this calculation model allows them in some respects to be more up to date than Land Registry itself, the model only allows them to estimate the numbers and the data is likely to change and be updated when all the properties are finally registered.

4. Rightmove House Price Reports

90% of estate agents in the UK use Rightmove to advertise properties for sale. As such, Rightmove are in a great position to draw conclusions from their own data.

Rightmove’s monthly house price report is based on asking prices listed on their website in the previous month. Additionally, they also report price changes over the month and year. Their data is mix-adjusted but not seasonally adjusted.

Rightmove’s data is representative of current properties that have been added to Rightmove in the previous month. However, where it falls behind other house price indexes is that it only takes into account the prices at the point the property comes onto the market, not the final purchase amount, which can vary a great deal from the original listing price.

5. Halifax House Price Reports

Halifax are one of the UKs biggest mortgage lenders. Their house price indexes are on their own reports of property being bought within the UK with a Halifax mortgage. Their data is subject to seasonal adjustments and include the price agreed and the percentages of any price changes that may have taken place. However, results can be affected by fluctuations in the number of completions that happen during a month, so may not be as reliable as previously mentioned sources.

Interested in studying the changes in mortgage sales over time? The Halifax index reports go back as far as 1984, so there’s lots of data for you to get stuck into.

6. Nationwide House Price Reports

Nationwide are another of the UK’s largest mortgage lenders. Unfortunately, their monthly reports don’t include data from buy-to-let, help-to-buy or very small or very large properties. What’s left is then mix-adjusted to generate the price of a ‘typical house’.

Nationwide’s reports differ slightly to Halifax’s as their index is purported to be able to handle smaller transaction sample sizes. However, their reports are subject to the same limitations and fluctuations as the ones provided by Halifax.

7. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) House Price Reports

This house price index is based on a survey completed by RICS members. Members comment on how they think the property market has been performing in their area in the past three months and what they think will happen over the next year. Figures on how many houses have gone on the market and how many have been sold are also included. The data collected is adjusted based on the region and responses to the survey processed to create a report on how they think the market will perform.

This index gives you an idea of the number of houses and apartments that are for sale and how many people are looking to buy. However, as this index is based largely on the opinions of RICS members, it’s not as reliable or comprehensive as the indices provided by other companies such as the Land Registry.

If you have any questions about house price reports or would like to discuss the value of your property please get in touch.

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