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Property prices rising or falling? Who can we believe?

Contradictory reports throw up more questions than answers

Today we have been told by one source that property prices rose in September and by another that they fell. LSL Property Services warned of a slight fall (0.1%) in prices and a major tail off in the number of sales completed. Completed sales fell by 24% to just over 50,000 making this year the second slowest September since the land Registry began its records in 1995. All pretty grim stuff.

But don’t fret, Rightmove, the property selling website, announced today that asking prices jumped by £8,000 in the last month. This is almost £300 per day. Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said the increase ‘is most likely attributable to the continued shortage of new property supply’.

So who’s right? The problem is that according to their data both are correct. Neither has a comprehensive database that could provide a definitive answer. Rightmove, for example, base their claims mainly on the figures from their website which covers only a fraction of the market. House price indices are merely a guide as to how the market is performing rather than oracles. Newspaper headlines about spikes and collapses should be taken with a handful of salt. What really matters is how your street is doing when you want to buy or sell.

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