The Nationwide Building Society and Halifax are two of the best-known names in UK mortgage lending, and both release data on how the UK property market is performing. Recently, their updates have been entirely at odds with each other, and there is a simple reason why.
A healthy UK property market is vital for the British economy; after all, if people’s property prices are rising, they tend to feel wealthier and are more likely to spend. It’s one reason why Halifax and Nationwide’s monthly property market updates are so eagerly awaited.
However, in recent times, the data provided by the two mortgage lending powerhouses have been at polar opposites.
The last three months’ data from Halifax indicates that UK house prices have risen, whilst, in stark contrast, the Nationwide House price index has reported seven consecutive monthly falls.
The reason for this is quite simple. Both lenders’ figures are based on their individual lending, geographic spread of customers and individual methodology. Therefore, neither completely reflects what is happening in the housing market and only provides a snapshot.
For the most accurate picture, one must turn to the UK House Price Index (UK HPI), a joint production by HM Land Registry, Land and Property Services Northern Ireland, Office for National Statistics and Registers of Scotland.
The next UK HPI will be released on Wednesday, 19th of April 2023, and will provide the most accurate picture of what happened in the UK property market in February 2023.
The UK House Price Index for January 2023 showed that, on average, UK house prices had fallen by 1.1% since December 2022, which is roughly in the same ballpark as Nationwide, whose data showed a monthly price fall of 0.6%.
The Halifax price data, published today (06/04/2023), will no doubt result in a raft of headlines over the next day or so stating UK house prices are on the up, which will be joined by enthusiastic and positive comments from people working in the property industry.
However, it must be said that those working in the industry will obviously have a vested interest in the market rebounding.
As someone who owns property in the UK, I, too, would prefer to see prices rise. House prices go up and down, and until the government releases its next raft of house price data, I, for one, believe that prices are, at best stagnant, more likely declining.
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