Property prices in 2016: higher or lower?

There are no end of financial reasons for the property market to be unpredictable at the moment, but recent figures from two leading statistical institutes make the situation during the start of 2016 even harder to fathom. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures which suggest that property prices saw a considerable rise in March this year, whilst according to the Land Registry they fell almost everywhere during the same month.

The statistics from the ONS state that a typical home carried a pricetag of £292,000 during March. An increase of £8,000 on February’s figure, this represents the greatest monthly rise in property price since the financial crisis of 2008. According to the ONS, London and the South East saw the biggest increase, with the East of England seeing prices go up by 12.1%, the South East slightly higher at 12.2%, and the capital highest of all with a rise of 13%.

The Land Registry, meanwhile, tells a considerably different story. According to their statistics, house prices in March fell by 0.5% overall across England and Wales, with a reported average price of £189,901. Yorkshire and Humberside saw the greatest fall in prices, with property there losing 2.6% of their value. The West Midlands saw a dip of 2%, with a 1.2% drop in the North East. The one thing that the ONS and Land Registry agreed upon was that London came out the best, as the capital saw a rise of 0.2% in March according to the latter.

The discrepancy between the forecast from the two institutes could be for a number of reasons. The ONS, for example, is around a month behind other price indexes, including the Land Registry. What these conflicting reports do suggest, however, is that the housing market continues its recent unpredictable trend. Changes on stamp duty and the EU referendum looming large are just two likely contributing factors, meaning that it’s more important than ever to keep a close eye on the value of your property, as even the experts can’t agree on what’s going to happen next.

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