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How do we correct the house price indices? – SimplyBiz

by: Martin Reynolds
  • 27/08/2013
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How do we correct the house price indices? – SimplyBiz
With the uplift in the mortgage market and the launch of Help to Buy we are seeing the plethora of house price indices showing marked increases.

On the back of this we are also seeing the normal quarrels with regards to the winners and losers.

Homeowners are seen as the winners with first-time buyers perceived as the losers. Whether this is factually true or not is a moot point and probably needs a separate blog.

I believe that there is one fundamental flaw with all these indices and this was highlighted by Rightmove. They recently announced that house prices had decreased by 1.8% for August. The issue for me is that they announced this on August 19.

Unless I am working to a different calendar to the estate agency market I thought that there were 31 days in August, so in addition to being a housing portal they now seem to be giving Sally Morgan a run for her money.

It is a perennial problem but, one that really needs to be addressed once and for all. All the parties that issue these edicts are using different measures and basing it on different data. The data only really talks about property prices on a macro level but, unfortunately, we do not live in a macro world.

Houses are very much a micro concern where similar types of properties within the same county will achieve very different prices.

The final truth about house price indices is that they create customer expectation that potentially is not be matched by the local valuer. This just creates frustrations all along the process.

A single house price index whilst still not perfect will at least be a positive. Even releasing monthly data post the end of the month in question would be a start. Naivety on my part probably – but that should not stop us from raising the subject.

Martin Reynolds is chief executive at SimplyBiz Mortgages

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