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A number of different opinions... ask the agent.

Byline: Derek Abbott FRICS, of Hollier Browne Chartered Surveyors (members of TEAM)

QAM I missing something, or are the housing market statistics all over the place at the moment? AYOU'RE right - they are.

For example, depending who you believe, average house prices are currently either PS168,941 (courtesy of the Nationwide) or PS161,969 (the Land Registry). Close enough, you might think - though still hard to explain, until you realise that while the LR takes its figures from right across the country, the Nationwide has a built-in bias towards the generally wealthier southern half.

However, not content with publishing just the Land Registry stats, the Government - in the guise of the Office of National Statistics - actually produces a second "official" set of figures. Step forward the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which has recently revealed that the average price of property in the UK is...

PS238,000.

According to the Nationwide, house prices went up just 0.3 per cent between May and June, and by 1.9 per cent since last June. The Land Registry is much more restrained, saying the annual house price rise is just 0.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, the gung-ho lot over at the ONS reckon that house prices in April - the last month for which they have done their calculations - are up by no less than 2.6 per cent compared to last year.

Things are just as confusing when it comes to transaction levels. According to the Land Registry, for example, sales are currently running at an average monthly rate of 48,875.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs beg to differ, however. According to them, the figure is 83,740. HMRC say transactions in May were up six per cent from April and up nine per cent from a year ago.

How to make sense of it all? Well, my advice is simply this: ignore the figures quoted in the national press - and ask your friendly local estate agent instead.

He or she will have a much better idea of what's actually happening in your local market and ultimately, those are the only figures that really matter.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 19, 2013
Words:354
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