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July 31

2019
by Millie Wickens
How to get the most out of house price trackers

It’s easy to get confused about how much your house is worth with all the different trackers out there – so which one should you follow?

While many house price trackers focus on the price of an average home, it is important to take into consideration a number of different factors which could impact the value of your property.

The value of your home or buy to let property depends on lots of criteria, such as the condition of the property, what your local neighbourhood is like, the location, which school catchment area you are in and lots more. Understanding these factors, in conjunction with a house price tracker, can help to give you an idea of the value of the property. Despite this, the only way to really test the value is to put the house on the market to see what a buyer is ready to offer.

What are the main house price trackers?

The UK is covered by a mix of official and corporate house price trackers.

The Land Registry’s UK House Price Index (UK HPI) samples house price data from properties sold for the entire country.

Other trackers use their own data sources or shortened Land Registry information – like LSL Acadata, which excludes sales in Scotland.

Two of the most well-known house price trackers – the Halifax and Nationwide indices, collect their figures from their own agreed mortgage advances, however some may not go through to completion.

There is some argument that these samples are skewed by the type of customers they deal with, who might not be representative of the UK demographic; and from where their branches are located. For instance, the Halifax is traditionally rooted around Northern England, where homes are cheaper, while the Nationwide is strongest in the East and South of the country.

Therefore they should be used alongside other factors and measurements to ensure you are gaining an accurate representation of your property’s value.

It is important to note that some of these trackers may also not include cash sales, which can account for 30 – 40 per cent of all property transactions each month, and all buy to let purchases.

Comparing house price indices

Although house price trackers and indices may vary, they are still a useful tool for helping to assess your property.

The government has released a guide that compares the source data, index and methods used by different house price measures to highlight their strengths and weaknesses.  The main aim is to aid users in identifying the most useful index for them. You can read the full comparison report here.

The UK Land Registry notes that: “As we have seen, there are a number of reasons why the indices might differ. In part, they can be interpreted as measuring slightly different things; even when they purport to be measuring the same thing, they employ slightly different methodologies and use different underlying data.

Comparison of the major UK house price indices

Index Data source Coverage When recorded Timeliness *
UK House Price Index Registration data from HM Land Registry, Registers of Scotland and Land and Property Services Northern Ireland UK – 100,000 (all) transactions Registration of sale 6 weeks
Nationwide Nationwide mortgage lending UK – 12,000 mortgage transactions Mortgage approval 1 week
Halifax Halifax mortgage lending UK- 15,000 mortgage transactions Mortgage approval 1 week
LSL Acadata HM Land Registry price paid data England and Wales – 80,000 (all) transactions Registration of sale 3 weeks
Rightmove Advertised properties on Rightmove England and Wales – 100,000 (all) transactions Advertised date Within reference period

* Timeliness refers to how long after reference period data is published, ie data for June 1 to June 30 would be published six weeks after the end of June by the UK House Price Index

Source: UK Land Registry

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