Property prices are somewhat of a national obsession, aren’t they? Everyone wants to know how much their home is worth, as well as their neighbour’s.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of reports and indices highlighting house price movement and growth and so when the dinner party conversation moves on to property, most of us are usually well-equipped.
However, the glut of information available these days means it’s a likely scenario that we’ll come across conflicting data from time to time. Are house prices going up or down and what really is the typical cost of a home in the UK?
Of course, we’ll never know quite for sure, but finding out about the backgrounds behind the different indices and reports can help to provide a clearer picture of the data we’re being presented with. What’s more, comparing the figures made available by different organisations can help to give you a better understanding of the current market – something which is important when you’re moving home.
With all this in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the best-known house price reports and summarised their latest findings…
House price reports
UK House Price Index
This is the Government's 'official' house price index and was introduced in 2016 as a replacement for the separate reports released by the Office for National Statistics and the Land Registry.
Overview: The headline figure for the most recent UK House Price Index is that average house prices increased by 6.7% between November 2015 and 2016. Between October and November, meanwhile, property price growth was recorded at 1.1%. The East of England was the only region to record double digit annual growth at 10.5%, while Wales was the only region to witness negative monthly growth (-0.2%).
Average property price: £217,928 (November 2016)
Things to consider: This is all official data and covers housing transactions, so it's fair to say that the figures are pretty reliable. One of the predominant downsides to this UK HPI is that it's always a little out of date. The latest report was released on January 17, but only takes in transactions up to the end of November 2016.
Full report: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-house-price-index-reports
Halifax's monthly report dates back to 1983 and is widely reported on by the property and national press when it is released.
Overview: House prices in the three months to December 2016 were 6.5% higher than in the same period in 2015, according to Halifax. The bank's most recent report also highlights that average prices increased by 2.5% between the third and final quarters of last year. Meanwhile, between November and December property price growth stood at 1.7%.
Average property price: £222,484 (December 2016 - seasonally adjusted)
Things to consider: The bank's index takes in its own lending figures for house prices and is compiled by information and analytics firm Markit.
Full report: http://static.halifax.co.uk/assets/pdf/mortgages/pdf/December-2016-Halifax-House-Price-Index.pdf
One of the best-known sources for house price data, Nationwide has been issuing quarterly reports since 1952 and monthly missives since 1991. The data for each month is usually released at the start of the next month - so January's report was issued at the beginning of February.
Overview: The high street bank’s main message for January is that the property market witnessed a steady start to 2017. The report shows that average prices increased by 0.2% between December and January and that the typical house price was 4.3% higher in January compared to a year previously.
Average property price: £205,240 (Not seasonally adjusted – January 2017)
Things to consider: Rather like Halifax, Nationwide collates its house price reports using only its own data (house purchase mortgage lending at the post-survey approvals stage). So, while giving a current snapshot, the nature of its collation means that it does not cover the whole market.
Full report: http://www.nationwide.co.uk/about/house-price-index/headlines
The UK's largest property portal releases a monthly price index which uses data from Rightmove listings. Due to the size of the website's inventory, this index provides a very good snapshot of the current market.
Overview: The average price of a property coming to market in January was 0.4% higher than the figure recorded in December, according to Rightmove. The average asking price was also 3.2% higher than in January 2016. The best performing region on a monthly basis was the South East - registering a 1.5% asking price rise between December and January. Compared to January last year, the East of England has recorded the highest growth in average asking prices at 6.1%. Meanwhile, average prices in Wales dropped by 3.5% between December and January and the North East witnessed the lowest annual growth at -1.7%.
Average property price: £300,245 (Asking price - January 2017)
Things to consider: The Rightmove report is released around the middle of each month, meaning it's as up to date as possible. When looking at the portal's figures, though, it is always wise to remember that they are for asking prices and not transactions. Therefore, it can be used as a good guide for seeing what people are pricing their properties at, but not necessarily what they are selling for.
Full report: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Rightmove-House-Price-Index-January-FINAL.pdf
As the UK's second largest property website, Zoopla has a lot of data to call upon for house price analysis. On its website, the portal publishes average paid prices for all areas and regions of the UK as well as the Zed-Index, which is based on current asking prices.
Overview: Zoopla's website shows that in the last 12 months average property values have increased by just over 4%. The typical detached property commands £428,324, while the average semi-detached and terraced properties sell for around £262,000 and £242,000 respectively. The portal calculates the average paid price in London at £603,089, while in Yorkshire and The Humber this figure falls to £163,527.
Average property price: £265,866 (Average price paid)
Things to consider: Zoopla's listings inventory is not quite as extensive as Rightmove's so its figures are calculated using a smaller sample. The website does, however, make it very simple to check property price growth and sold prices on specific streets all over the UK.
What have we found?
Here at reallymoving, we also crunched our own numbers based on the 220,000 movers who used our site to get home moving quotes during 2016.
Below are some of the highlights of our findings at reallymoving.com:
29% of movers were downsizing (buying a home for less than the one they're selling), down from 31% in 2015.
The average price paid by first-time buyers (£204,000) was 72% of that paid by other buyers (£284,000), compared to 75% in 2015.
The proportion of first-time buyers rose from 43% in 2015 to 52% last year.
You can read our full review of 2016 here.