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Survey snapshot

Posted on 22 March 2017
Survey snapshot

One month house prices fall, then the next, they soar. The fluctuations are allaccording to which survey you read, so which house price indices should you follow?

Each survey operates 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 consider house price predictions too.

A national index can often hide the real picture in each area, with some covering asking prices, others referencing sold prices. We have a round-up of some of the major indices, you help you navigate the reports and isolate the relevant information.

The UK House Price Index (HPI)
This monthly report captures changes in the value of residential properties 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. 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 been compiling its own regularly updated house price statistics for more than 30 years. It uses its own mortgage completions data, recording 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.
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.

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
The organisation supplies a monthly sentiment survey of Chartered Surveyors who operate in the residential sales and lettings markets.

It’s most recent findings report that across the UK transactions and buyer enquiries were both flat over the month of February, but that prices continue to rise steadily at the national level. The February 2017 RICS UK Residential Market Survey shows markets remain subdued with transaction volumes broadly unchanged for the third month in succession. Respondents in most regions reported an increase in prices with the strongest growth in the North West of England and notable improvements in Northern Ireland too. With demand flat and the supply of new property continuing to slip, the national agreed sales indicator
pointed to another steady month for transactions, posting a reading of +2% (following -2% previously).

Council of Mortgage Lenders
The Council of Mortgage Lenders' members are banks, building societies and other lenders who together undertake around 97% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK. There are 11.1 million mortgages in the UK, with loans worth over £1.3 trillion.

Their latest monthly report shows that home buyers borrowed £8.4bn in January, down 28% on December and unchanged on January 2016. This came to 45,700 loans, down 28% on December and 1% on January 2016. First-time buyers borrowed £3.6bn for home-owner house purchase, down 29% on December but up 9% on January 2016. They took out 22,600 loans, down 29% month-on-month but up 7% year-on-year. Home movers borrowed £4.9bn, down 25% on December and 4% year-on-year. This equated to 23,000 loans, down 27% month-on-month and 7% compared to January 2016. Home-owner remortgage activity was up 54% by value and 46% by volume on December. Compared to January 2016, remortgage lending was up 22% by value and 21% by volume.