House prices UP house prices DOWN

House prices UP house prices DOWN – The truth about OX5 house prices from the agents on the ground.

Prop investEvery time I turn on the telly, listen to the radio or pick up a paper now I’m reading conflicting often sensationalist reports about the housing market. To illustrate this point the latest figures from the Land Registry show last month’s prices as down by 0.1%, Rightmove said down by a whopping 3.3%, Halifax said up by 0.4% and Nationwide said up by 0.2%. No wonder the public at large never have a true picture of the state of the housing market.

I thought that I’d write a quick blog post to try and provide some clarity.

It’s important to take every report firmly in context – taking into account the data that they accrue and the way they then process that data.

Land Registry:
The Land Registry is one of the most reliable and trusted sources of facts regarding movements in the housing market. The data they use is compiled from every completion they register. Now it’s important to be mindful that the figures are generally out of date as a sale agreed in January wouldn’t be completing until March and would then be reported on in April.

Rightmove are the source of some great ‘headline grabbing’ statistics as there data is derived from their property listings. The key benefit of the Rightmove statistics is that they are very current and they can drawdown data and create reports in real time. The drawback is that they are reporting on asking prices of properties on the market which can fluctuate with variables such as the strength of the pound (for prime central London properties) and which agencies subscribe to their service. If a high end multi branch estate agency withdrew from Rightmove they may well report on a drop in asking prices.

Halifax & Nationwide:
Halifax & Nationwide are very reliable commentators on house prices. I have to constantly remind myself however, that their data is collated from their extensive mortgage applications and this too is not representative of the market as a whole. If, for example, one of them has a particularly attractive mortgage product for first time buyers they would have an influx of people buying lower value properties and therefore may report a decrease in the average property value. Likewise they may have an attractive rate for mortgages in excess of £500,000 which too would affect their reports.

Over the years and after reading hundreds of house price reports I have resolved that there is no real benefit to reading reports on short term changes in the housing market especially nationally. With the property market so microclimatised national statistics are meaningless it’s like adding up everyone’s birthday and saying that the average birthday is 12th July. It’s ridiculous and only benefits newspaper sales.

Thankfully most of them bring out a less publicised regional report too. These are normally at county or district level which also don’t reflect the true facts on the ground. In Cherwell, for example, prices in Kidlington have gone up significantly more than villages to the north of Bicester.

In short, the only way of getting a true picture of the price changes and volume of sales in the area you are interested in is to get a local property professional out to advise you. At Alistair Redhouse we are constantly studying the housing market and monitoring the micro changes from village to village.

If you are thinking of a move in 2015, doing some financial planning or thinking about buying a buy to let investment then please call us today and arrange a consultation with a local expert.