Our guide to house price indices
One month UK house prices fall, then the next, they soar. So which house price indices should you follow?
Are property prices going up or down? It depends on which house price index you go by – and all of them operate according to slightly different criteria so not all are equal. Due to the various statistics issued by different sources, it is easy to become confused by the large discrepancies particularly when you take into account house price predictions too. Each region is different and often a national index hides the real picture in each area. In addition to sold house price indices, some also cover asking prices and are published on other portals. To help provide some clarity, here is a round-up of some of Britain’s leading indices.
The UK House Price Index (HPI)
In June 2016, the government’s House Price Index replaced the previous indices published by the Land Registry and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The UK House Price Index (UK HPI) captures changes in the value of residential properties. The report is produced monthly and shows changes in average house prices for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The main sources of price paid data used in the UK HPI are the Land Registry for England and Wales, Registers of Scotland and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs Stamp Duty Land Tax data for the Northern Ireland Residential property prices index (RPPI). The calculation of the UK HPI is performed by the Office for National Statistics. Further information on the methodology applied is available via the published article ‘Development of a single official House Price Index’.
The latest report shows that as of December 2016, the average house price in the UK is £219,544. Property prices have risen by 1.4% compared to the previous month, and risen by 7.2% compared to the previous year.
The Halifax has its own regularly updated house price statistics dating as far back as 1983. It uses its own mortgage completions data. It records that house prices in the three months up to February 2017 were 1.7 per cent higher than in the previous quarter (September-November 2016). Also, prices in the three months to February were 5.1 per cent higher than in the same three months a year earlier. This was below January’s 5.7 per cent and was the lowest annual rate since July 2013 (4.6 per cent). House prices rose by 0.1 per cent between January and February. This followed January’s 1.1 per cent decline.
This HPI (House Price Index) claims to be more up-to-the-minute than the Land Registry figures. It uses their data but applies its own business model. The Financial Times helped to set this up.
The latest house prices (averaged out over a three-month period) for England and Wales reached £300,169 (a monthly increase of 0.3 per cent, annual increase of 3.1 per cent), for Scotland £172,204 (0.2 per cent monthly increase, 2.2 per cent annual) and for Wales £172,540 (monthly increase 0.0 per cent, annual 2.1 per cent). * For more information, visit Acadata Ltd.
If you are selling your property, it is a good idea to research sold prices in order to have a good idea of what your current property could be worth. Similarly, if you are looking to buy a property, it is worth checking out what has been paid for properties like the one you are searching for.