Belfast Telegraph

Statistics expert calls for official house price index

A NEW official house price index should be launched measuring changes to property values across the whole of the UK, the National Statistician has said.

Jil Matheson said a single headline measure of changes to property values should be introduced to help people who monitored house prices.

She said there were concerns about the coverage, clarity and comparability of the current official housing statistics.

There are two official house price indexes, one published by the Land Registry and one published by Communities and Local Government (CLG).

But the Land Registry index only covers properties in England and Wales, while it also measures house prices at the time a sale is completed, which is right at the end of the process.

The CLG index covers the whole of the UK, but it reports data around a month later than most indexes, while it is based on the price of a property at the time a mortgage is completed, which is not always the same as the final amount paid for a home.

There are also a number of unofficial indexes, including the Nationwide and Halifax indexes, which measure house prices when a mortgage is approved, the Rightmove index, which measures property asking prices in England and Wales, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' survey, which looks at house prices, buyer demand and the supply of property for sale.

Ms Matheson said: "There is a great deal of interest in and importance placed on changes in the value of our houses by all sections of society.

"I want to be sure that official statistics producers are providing the right statistics on house prices to support decision making by us all."

She said there should be a single official measure of house prices that covered the whole of the UK, was based on prices when a sale was completed and was produced monthly. She said it should also have National Statistics status.

Ms Matheson said the Land Registry and CLG had been asked to look at ways of producing a definitive set of official house price statistics in future, as well as a joint statistical report.