Even a cursory glance at the papers can reveal a lot of conflicting information about the UK property market.
Depending on which index you go by you could be full of confidence about the direction prices are heading in or filled with a sense of panic.
But before you make any rash decisions based on one figure, how about getting a clearer picture of house price activity by comparing all of them?
The chances are you have more important things to do than trawl through every house price index over the past month so luckily we’ve done it for you.
The Homeowners Alliance House Price Watch looks at all of the information from the various indices out there to give you one easy to digest round-up of everything you need to know.
House prices creep up
House prices are up on average 0.4% in the past month, however, the pace of average annual house price growth continues to slow to 3.1%.
The major house price indices differ in their outlook for house prices this month:
- Land Registry (0.5%), Halifax (0.8%) and Nationwide (0.2%) report a rise in monthly house prices.
- LSL (-0.1%) and Rightmove (-1.2%) report a fall in monthly house prices.
- Land Registry reflects August house price data, while other indices reflect September figures.
UK home sales down slightly in August
UK home sales are down 0.5% between July and August. Transactions are 6.6% higher than they were a year ago, however, sales in August 2016 may have been affected by the outcome of the EU referendum.
The volume of mortgage approvals for house purchases – a leading indicator of completed house sales also fell by 2.7% between July and August.
Buyer enquiries fall, as does available stock
September 2017 RICS UK Residential Market Survey shows a drop in new buyer enquiries and a drop in sales, while new sales instructions were steady.
The stock of homes on estate agents’ books remains at near record lows. The continued shortage of homes available for sale is sustaining house prices.
What’s happening in your area?
In the past month, house prices have fallen in London (-1%) but are steady or rising in other parts of the country.
London is experiencing the slowest rate of annual house price growth nationally (2.6%).
The North West (6.5%), East Midlands (6.4%), East of England (6.4%) and the South West (6.4%) are experiencing the fastest rates of annual house price growth.
Katherine Binns, director of the Homeowners Alliance, says: “The autumn bounce we have experienced in recent years has not materialised in 2017.
"Activity is subdued, with buyer demand and sales down a fraction in the past month. Prices continue to nudge upwards nationally, supported by a shortage of homes available for sale, but the rate of annual house price growth continues to slow.
"With the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy committee indicating a rise in interest rates is likely in the coming months, we would expect the cool climate to continue.”
Take a look at the table below to see how your region fared.
What the indices say
“At its September meeting, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee signalled that if the economy evolves broadly in line with its expectations an interest rate increase is likely in the months ahead.
"This would be the first increase in the Bank Rate since July 2007. We would expect a modest rise in the Bank Rate, by itself, to have only a modest impact on economic activity.”
“UK house prices continue to be supported by an ongoing shortage of properties for sale and solid growth in full-time employment. However, increasing pressure on spending power and continuing affordability concerns may well dampen demand.
"There has been recent speculation on the possibility of a rise in the Bank of England base rate. We do not anticipate this will have a significant effect on transaction volumes.”
“There were Autumn price bounces nationally in 2014, 2015 and 2016 but the south of the country has turned this month into a bit of a damp squib, whilst some northern regions are still showing marginal signs of upward price pressure.
"Estate agents are clearly advising many sellers that they have to lower their price expectations to fit in with buyers’ stretched financial resources, with that price compromise hopefully generating extra buyer interest.”
“Results are symptomatic of a market lacking momentum at the national level. Headline indicators on demand and sales slipped deeper into negative territory, with this subdued picture anticipated to persist over the coming months.
"Feedback from contributors suggests the recent shift in interest rate expectations may be contributing to the more cautious tone in market sentiment.”