House prices – the plot thickens

Nationwide announced a 1.6% rise in house prices in August yesterday which contradicted figures from Rightmove showing a 2.2% decline in the same month.

Well it seems that Land Registry statistics support the Nationwide figures.

The Land Registry saw a 1.7% increase in house prices in July compared with June – the largest single monthly rise since July 2004.

According to the Registry, all parts of England and Wales enjoyed rising prices, although the year on year figures show an average price reduction of 11.7%.

So are we luxuriating in a rejuvenated property market?

Well I still remain to be convinced.  I questioned yesterday whether house prices were rising or falling and said that indices are painting a confusing picture at the moment.

The news from the Land Registry does not change my view – these are lagging indicators.

There is no question at all that we have seen definite house price increases and more property transactions in late spring and early summer.  I can see that by the number of houses sold in my area.

However, if the Rightmove figures are an accurate representation of what is happening now, then my view remains unchanged.

House prices may well trend downwards for the rest of the year, particularly if more sellers jump onboard and start to overwhelm a pool of buyers that is still small in number.

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