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Online House Hunter: Crystal ball gazing

Alan Cleaver
houses 300x207 Online House Hunter: Crystal ball gazing

The property market remains confused if nothing else

HOUSE prices static over past 12 months said The Guardian. UK house prices remain volatile, said property talklive. People would be forgiven for being a little confused – particularly as those headlines are both based on the same house price index.

Curiously both are right. The LSL Property Services/Acadametrics House Price Index for March shows a monthly fall of -0.1% in the average price and zero annual growth. However with wide variations across England and Wales where there have been significant price changes.

So how do you find out the trends in house prices if you’re considering selling up or buying? There are a number of regular prices indexes and surveys issued – they’re usually issued monthly and usually at the start of the month. The journalists will pick out a nice ‘headline’ statistic but if you’re serious about gazing into the crystal ball that is second-guessing house prices then you need to be a bit more circumspect.

First, always go to the original source of any headline-grabbing price survey. A quick Google search will find you the home site of The LSL Property Services/Acadametrics House Price Index and other key players. I’ve also included a few links below. The Acadametrics’ site includes many detailed documents giving good analysis of the property market, helping you to make a better decision. Bear in mind that you need to drill down to specific regional variations.

The Land Registry figures are considered by many to be most authoritative but ‘lag’ a month behind figures issued by other house price indexes. It is normally published on the 20th of each month but does use sales data collected on all residential housing transactions, whether for cash or with a mortgage, in England and Wales. And has done since 1995.

Finally, if you are going into crystal ball gazing, then the BBC guide to house price indexes will give you an overview of what is available.

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