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House prices shoot up 10.2% in a year, claims ONS

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

House prices in the UK went up 10.2% in the year to June, the Office for National Statistics has said.

Excluding London and the south-east, UK house prices rose by 6.3%.

It says house price annual inflation was 10.7% in England – driven by a 19.3% rise in London – 3.5% in Wales, 6% in Scotland and 4.9% in Northern Ireland.

The ONS also says that in June, prices paid by first-time buyers were 12% higher than in June the previous year, while home movers paid 9.5% more.

The ONS puts the average UK “mix-adjusted” house price at £265,000.

Broken down, these are an average of £276,000 in England, £167,000 in Wales, £137,000 in Northern Ireland and £193,000 in Scotland.

The average price in London was £499,000, compared with the north-east’s average of £150,000 – the lowest in England.

The ONS says that England is the only country in the UK where average property prices are now higher than the pre-financial crisis peak of January 2008.

However, the ONS statistics – drawn from mortgage data – are vastly at odds with what the Land Registry reported for June.

The Land Registry said that average house prices across England and Wales were still below the peak – which it put at November 2007.

The Land Registry reported average house prices as being £172,011 – a gap of some £90,000 compared with the ONS’s “mid-adjusted” UK average of £265,000.

The enormous difference in the two sets of official data prompt the question as to whether the Bank of England will be making its decisions on rate rises with the help of the ONS or the Land Registry.

P.S. Do you think the BBC will ever spot the gap? The ONS’s house prices were the lead item on the lunchtime news without any mention of the much lower Land Registry and Nationwide prices – both of which were faithfully reported by the BBC last month without, of course, any reference to the ONS. The BBC is not the only offender.

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