There's a new official House Price Index – is the message the same?

There's a new official House Price Index – is the message the same?

If you're looking to buy or sell a home, you may have started to take more notice of news coverage of house prices and the property market in general.

One thing you're likely to have discovered is that there is a wealth of information to take in from a range of different sources.

In the past it's been possible to read a monthly house price index from the Land Registry, The Office for National Statistics (ONS), Nationwide, Halifax, Rightmove and many, many more.

As all these sources use different data and often calculate figures on different aspects of house prices and over different time periods – therefore information can sometimes be conflicting.

That's why you may have come across one news article that tells you that house prices are up and another on the same day telling you that asking prices are down.

In order to combat this consumer quandary – two of the 'official' indices released by the Government have been combined into one monthly index.

The new 'UK HPI' has replaced the Land Registry and ONS indices and will offer four monthly reports (a UK summary as well as reports for England, Scotland and Wales).

The first version of the new report has been released this week, so we've taken a look at what the figures are saying...   

 

What do the figures show?

The first set of data – which covers April – shows that UK house prices increased by 8.2% in the year to April.

This level of growth is slightly down on the previous month's figure of 8.5%.

The average house price in the UK hit £209,054 during April, up £1,300 since March and a whopping £16,000 higher than the figure recorded in April 2015.

 

England

The index shows that house prices in England increased by 9.1% in the year to April, pushing the average house price up to £225,000.

 

Wales

Average prices in Wales increased by a more modest 1.7% in the 12 months to April. The average house price in Wales reached £139,000 during April, down from £142,151 in March.

 

Scotland

Growth in Scotland was recorded at 3.3% in the year to April, while the average house price stood at £138,445 – yet to eclipse a recent peak of £139,792 recorded last March.

 

Northern Ireland

The average house price in Northern Ireland remained at £117,524 for the fourth consecutive month in April, after dropping from £118,740 in November and December 2015.

 

Best performing English regions

The highest average house price in April was unsurprisingly recorded in London at £470,025. This was followed by the South East at £301,689 and the East at £263,420.

When it comes to annual growth, London again came top of the pile with a 14.5% increase in average prices in the year to April. The East of England was next with growth of 13.6%, followed by the South East at 12.3%.

 

Worst performing English regions

The region with the lowest average price in April was the North East (£121,719), followed by the North West (£145,149) and Yorkshire and the Humber (£146,712).

The lowest annual growth was recorded in the North East where average prices increased by just 0.1% over the twelve months to April.