Any reader of the newspapers will have come across a range of property statistics and surveys which indicate a wide range of different trends. We are faced on a monthly basis with surveys and analysis from the Land Registry, RICS, Rightmove, Halifax and the Nationwide. Often these surveys tell differing stories and indicate different trends. The simple reason is that the all measure different aspects of the housing make. But who do we believe in trying to establish what is happening in the market.
The report that is perceived to be the most actuate is the Land Registry as this looks at all transactions that actually take place. The disadvantage is that it is historic and more likely to be at least 3 months out of date. In contrasting the house price in the Spring with the Autumn we are going to see differences in the yearly trends.
In many ways the opposite is true and the most up to date is that of the Rightmove survey. This looks at guide prices of properties on the market at that very moment. Very helpful but a sale cannot be considered a fact until a buyer and sell have agreement and completion has taken place. This survey looks at expectation in many respects.
The middle ground is filled with the likes of the RICS which looks at Surveyors expectations and confidence in the housing market. This is a large survey of 250 estate agents and surveyors but is of course subjective in its outlook. The better know are that of the Halifax and the Nationwide. These look at their sales and mortgage advances and the expectations but only though their own businesses.
The reality is that the surveys all fill their own specific role and to comment fully the estate agent has to consider the surveys all together.
The use of national and regional statistic does not hide though the need for good local knowledge. As estate agents at the coal face we can comment on what has been selling well, where there is the exclusivity and which types of properties have struggle. There is no better comparable than having your feet on the ground.
House price variance
We also know that there can be considerable variance in street or village. The best houses can be double that of the worst house in certain areas. Once again it is the skill of the estate agent to know first hand of comparable sales in order to provide an acuate valuation.
We are often asked to comment on the latest house price survey by buyers or seller and so when we say it all depends we is more that just hedging our bets. The values of individual houses are more that just trends.