Property statistics – how reliable are they?

This article was first published in our November 2018 newsletter.

You could be excused for thinking that property professionals had lost the plot when property statistics seem to conflict. You might hear that the Halifax reports that the average property prices have increased only for Nationwide to say they’re stagnating or for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to say that the market has slowed down or speeded up. So, who’s right?

The answer to that question is all of them – for the statistics they’re quoting. However, you need to be aware that both Halifax and Nationwide base their data on the number and value of loans they provide (and this means that they take no account of purchases where there is no loan involved) whereas the RICS statistics are based on how busy or quiet their members are in the delivery of residential surveys and Home Reports.

House Price Index Report

However, perhaps the best barometer of what’s happening in the market is the monthly House Price Index Report. Whilst this is a UK wide report, we’ll focus on the HPI Scotland Report, the latest edition of which was only recently released. You can view all of the information contained in the HPI Scotland Report by clicking here.

The reason we say that we prefer this report on the health of the property market is because it’s based on actual records. The Report provides information on the number of purchases registered each month, irrespective, for instance, of whether they’ve been bought with or without a mortgage. It also reports in the number of properties purchased in that month too – again, all based on actual records.

The report goes much deeper that the other headline statistics we see because it reports average prices and volume of sales by local authority region – and gives comparable figured for the previous year.

Different Property Types 

Also useful is the indication of the average price of different property types – detached, semi-detached, terraced and flats.

You can find out about the number of property bought using a mortgage and those bought with cash as well as new-build and existing re-sold properties right through to first-time buyers and home movers.

On the downside, there is a time lag in the production  of these statistics with the report published this month providing average house price data for September whilst the volume of  sales statistics are provided for July.

There’s also a useful News Release published each month and you can sign up to receive alerts when the Report is released.

Get in touch

Finally, if you’re looking for information on the local property market that’s right up to date, speak to our Property Department. They deal with property every day with everything from taking the property to market right through to negotiating the offer. If you have any questions or would like to know more about our Estate Agency Service, call our Property Manager Margaret McMillan on 0141 773 5880.