Disagreement surrounds rising house price data

29 November 2011

UK house prices rose by 0.4% in November, taking the average to £165,798 and contributing to a 1.6% annual rise, according to the latest figures from the Nationwide House Price Index.

However, not everyone is convinced by the positive figures the Nationwide has produced.

"The latest set of Nationwide house price data is about as misleading as it gets," says Nicholas Ayre, director of home buying agency Home Fusion.

Conflicting reports

Nationwide's assertion that prices are on the up comes just a day after the Land Registry released data showing that house prices are falling. The October data from the Registry's House Price Index shows a monthly decrease of 0.9% and an annual fall of 3.2%.

Meanwhile, Halifax reported a 1.2% rise between September and October and an annual decrease of 1.8%.

Given that the Land Registry data is formulated using final sale prices from across the country, whereas Nationwide data is produced from its own mortgage lending figures at the post-survey approval stage and Halifax data is based on its approved loans rather than completed mortgages, the Land Registry numbers are considered more accurate.

Regardless of the difference between the Nationwide, Halifax and Land Registry figures, the experts do agree on one point. Transaction levels are very low, with hardly anyone buying and selling property as an effect of a stagnant economy.

"Market and consumer sentiment have weakened quite dramatically since the late summer," says Lucy Pendleton, managing director of estate agent James Pendleton.

Despite this, the number of mortgage approvals rose to 52,743 in October from 51,193 in September, according to the Bank of England.

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