House Prices Increase, But By How Much?

It is estimated that by the year 2020, 350,000 household will be excluded from the housing market, due to steadily rising prices, but just how much are prices going up?

Depending on the source you consult, house prices have gone up in the year to October by 3.8%, 5.6%, 6.1% or 8.6%.

Every month, figures for house price growth are released and the reason for the discrepancy among these figures is simply that different source data is used to come up with each.

The first numbers released are the house price index from Nationwide Building Society, sourcing data from their own mortgage books, which accounts for 13% of the total market share. Their figure for the year to October was the lowest of the lot this month, at 3.8%.

Next come figures from the Halifax, who also use data from their own mortgage customers, accounting for a larger 20% share of the market. Theirs was the highest this month, at 8.6%.

The Office for National Statistics also provide a figure (theirs was 6.1%, released most recently), and theirs is the one that the government use as reference in their reports and studies.

The ONS ‘s figure is arguably the most detailed, offering a regional breakdown across the UK, though it only uses data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders and so does not include cash purchases.

According to the ONS, Northern Ireland led the charge out of all the regions of UK, with growth of 10.2%. Scotland and Wales tied at 1.1% for the slowest growth.

Within England (whose growth was close to the nationwide average, at 6.4%), the East saw the fastest growth of 8.4%.

The Land Registry then provide what is considered by many to be the most reliable, since it includes cash purchases as well as those completed with mortgages. Theirs, which accounts for around a third of the total housing market, was 5.6% for this month.

While there is variation between the house price inflation figures offered, all of them for this month come up well short of the equivalent figures for the same period last year, which averaged around 12%.

And whichever figure is consulted, what is certain is that house price inflation is far outweighing wage growth. PwC ‘s chief economist John Hawksworth, expressed concern about this discrepancy and rise of house prices more generally, saying that: “the ongoing rise in house prices reinforces our projections that, by 2025, only around a quarter of 20-39 year olds in England may be owner occupiers, compared to around three quarters of over-55 year olds.”

Rics ‘ former chairman Jeremy Leaf also weighed in, equally showing concern about the affordability of houses as prices continue to rise, particularly in London where the average property now costs over £530,000.

“Unless you earn way above the national average salary,” he said, “you have precious little hope of being in a position to buy.”

He went on: “Generation Rent is being left out in the cold: they have aspirations to buy but are being pushed further away from their goal.”

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