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Statistical bulletin: House Price Index, March 2012

Released: 22 May 2012 Download PDF

House Price Index, March 2012

  • UK house prices in March 2012 were 0.4 per cent lower than a year earlier. Despite the slight decline, house prices continue to lack any real movement with the current UK average price little changed from where it was at the beginning of 2011. This is with the exception of Northern Ireland, which has experienced strong falls in house prices since 2008.
  • Seasonally adjusted UK house prices decreased by 0.6 per cent over the month.
  • In the 12 months to March 2012, average house prices decreased by 0.3 per cent in both England and Scotland and 10.7 per cent in Northern Ireland. These decreases were offset by an increase of 0.4 per cent in Wales.
  • The annual decrease in England was driven by decreases in London, which fell by 0.2 per cent, the South East, which fell by 1.4 per cent, and the North East, which fell by 0.9 per cent. This was the first year on year decrease in London since October 2009. The largest annual increase in regional average house prices was 2.2 per cent in the South West of England.
  • In March 2012, prices paid by first time buyers were 2.8 per cent higher on average than in March 2011. For owner occupiers (existing owners) the prices decreased by 1.6 per cent in the same period.
  • Prices of new dwellings rose by 6.9 per cent during the 12 months to March 2012, while the price of pre-owned dwellings decreased by 0.9 per cent in the same period.

About this Statistical Bulletin

The ONS House Price Index (HPI), previously published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), is a monthly release that publishes figures for mix-adjusted average house prices and house price indices for the UK, its component countries and regions. The index is calculated using mortgage financed transactions that are collected via the Regulated Mortgage Survey by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. These cover the majority of mortgage lenders in the UK. The HPI complements other measures of inflation published by ONS such as the Consumer Price Indices, the Retail Prices Index, the Producer Price Indices and the Services Producer Price Indices.

This Statistical Bulletin provides comprehensive information on the change in house prices on a monthly and annual basis. It also includes analysis by country, region, type of buyer (first time buyers and former owner occupiers) and type of dwelling (new dwelling or pre-owned dwelling). Historical series for all accompanying tables that transferred from DCLG are also available in the data section of this release.

The figures published in this release are not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise stated.

House Price Index UK summary

UK average house prices decreased by 0.4 per cent over the year to March 2012, down from a 1.0 per cent increase in the year to the revised February 2012 index. The average UK mix-adjusted house price in March 2012 was £225,283.

Figure 1 - UK all dwellings annual house price rates of change

12 month percentage change

Chart detailing the annual rate of change for UK all dwelling house prices
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Not seasonally adjusted
  2. Data collected via the Regulated Mortgage Survey

Download chart

On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices decreased by 0.6 per cent over the month to March 2012 compared with an increase in average prices of 1.2 per cent in March 2011.

House Price Index, March 2012: Summary of UK all dwellings

Index - February 2002=100
Index % 12 month change Index % monthly change £
    Not seasonally adjusted Not seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted Not seasonally adjusted
2011 Jan 174.5 0.1 173.3 -1.1 216,109
Feb 171.1 -0.2 173.0 -0.2 211,960
Mar 173.2 0.3 175.1 1.2 214,566
Apr 172.6 -0.7 173.5 -0.9 213,832
May 171.1 -2.5 171.9 -0.9 211,975
Jun 173.1 -2.3 173.1 0.7 214,426
Jul 175.6 -1.6 173.4 0.2 217,473
Aug 176.0 -1.5 174.2 0.5 218,022
Sep 175.2 -1.6 173.1 -0.6 217,044
Oct 174.2 -0.5 174.3 0.7 215,772
Nov 173.8 -0.5 174.2 -0.1 215,333
Dec 173.0 -0.4 174.5 0.2 214,342
2012 Jan R 175.5 0.6 174.7 0.1 229,121
Feb R 172.8 1.0 175.1 0.2 225,607
  Mar   172.6 -0.4 174.0 -0.6 225,283

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Data collected via the Regulated Mortgage Survey

Download table

House Price Index by Country

During the year to March 2012, average house prices decreased in England by 0.3 per cent, in Scotland by 0.3 per cent and in Northern Ireland by 10.7 per cent.  However, in Wales average house prices increased by 0.4 per cent.

Figure 2 - Country all dwellings annual house price rates of change

12 month percentage change

Chart showing the annual rates of change for the average all dwelling house price by country
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Not seasonally adjusted
  2. Data collected via the Regulated Mortgage Survey

Download chart

House Price Index by Region

Average house prices decreased in five of the nine English regions over the year to March 2012. The largest decrease was in the South East at 1.4 per cent, while London saw its average price decrease by 0.2 per cent, the first year on year decrease since October 2009. Over the same period, average house prices increased in three of the regions, with the largest increase observed in the South West at 2.2 per cent.  Average house prices remained unchanged in the West Midlands.

Figure 3 - Regional all dwellings annual house price rates of change

12 month percentage change for the latest month

This chart shows the annual rates of change for the current month by each region of the UK
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Not seasonally adjusted
  2. Data collected via the Regulated Mortgage Survey

Download chart

Average House Prices in Countries and Regions

Average mix-adjusted house prices in March 2012 stood at £233,203 in England, £153,957 in Wales and £179,222 in Scotland.

In March 2012, London continues to be the English region with the highest average house price at £368,049. The North East had the lowest average house price at £141,130. London, the South East and the East of England all had prices higher than the UK average price of £225,283.

Excluding London and the South East, the average UK mix-adjusted house price was £184,377.

Figure 4 - Mix-adjusted average house price by UK, Country and Region

Current month compared with the same month last year

This chart shows the average mix-adjusted house price by UK, Country and Region for the latest period
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Not seasonally adjusted
  2. Data collected via the Regulated Mortgage Survey

Download chart

House Price Index by Type of Buyer

The average price for properties bought by first time buyers increased by 2.8 per cent over the year to March 2012, compared with an annual increase of 2.3 per cent in February 2012. During March 2012 the average price paid for a house by a first time buyer was £170,109.

The average price for properties bought by former owner occupiers (existing owners) decreased by 1.6 per cent in the year to March 2012 compared with an increase of 0.5 per cent in February 2012. In March 2012, the average price paid for a house by a former owner occupier was £257,650.

Figure 5 - UK annual house price rates of change by type of buyer

12 month percentage change

This chart shows the annual rates of change for UK average house prices by type of buyer (first time buyer or existing owner)
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Not seasonally adjusted
  2. Data collected via the Regulated Mortgage Survey

Download chart

House Price Index by new and pre-owned dwellings

During the year to March 2012 prices paid for pre-owned dwellings decreased by 0.9 per cent on average, compared with an increase of 0.5 per cent in the year to February 2012. The average UK house price for pre-owned dwellings in March 2012 was £225,780.

During the year to March 2012 prices paid for new dwellings increased by 6.9 per cent on average, compared with an increase of 8.0 per cent in the year to February 2012. The average UK house price for new dwellings in March 2012 was £217,840.

Figure 6 - UK annual house price rates of change by type of dwelling

12 month percentage change

This chart shows the annual rates of change for the UK average house price by type of dwelling (whether the dwelling was new or pre-owned)
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Not seasonally adjusted
  2. Data collected via the Regulated Mortgage Survey

Download chart

Data tables

ONS HPI monthly and quarterly reference tables (numbers 1 to 19). (3.07 Mb Excel sheet) This reference table provides full historical series for the monthly tables accompanying the House Price Index Statistical Bulletin. This month, tables 1 to 9 have been updated with the latest monthly data for March 2012 and scheduled revisions have been taken on for January and February 2012.  Tables 10 to 19 have been updated with data for the first quarter of 2012. This reference table also contains all the quarterly live tables transferred to ONS from DCLG.  Please note that during the transfer, ONS has renumbered the live tables - full details of the new table numbers and their corresponding DCLG table numbers can be found in the 'contents' page of the reference table.

ONS HPI annual tables (numbers 20 to 39). (1.05 Mb Excel sheet) This reference table contains all the annual live tables transferred to ONS from DCLG. There are no updates to this table this month. Please note that during the transfer, ONS has renumbered the live tables - full details of the new table numbers and their corresponding DCLG table numbers can be found in the 'contents' page of the reference table.

Background notes

  1. New this month

    Transfer of HPI from DCLG to ONS

    Following the announcement by the National Statistician on the 9 December 2011, the House Price Index (HPI) has now been transferred from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). From the February 2012 publication onwards, ONS takes responsibility for the publication of the HPI Statistical Bulletin and a number of supporting tables.

    The tables transferred are A1-A7, 502-508, 511-517, 521, 523, 534-540, 557, 571, 572, 590-594. DCLG will continue to produce and publish the remaining housing market live tables (tables 580-588) including those on housing affordability based on Land Registry data.

    Note that during the transfer of HPI from DCLG to ONS, the tables that ONS has taken responsibility for have been renumbered. The content of these tables remains the same. All of these tables can be accessed via the two reference tables in the data section of this release. There is one reference table for the monthly and quarterly tables (3.07 Mb Excel sheet) and another reference table for the annual tables (1.05 Mb Excel sheet) . These tables also include a look up table so users can cross reference the old DCLG table numbers with the new ONS numbering scheme.

    Scheduled revisions in this release

    Estimates for January and February 2012 have been revised as scheduled to include data provided by mortgage lenders who return data on a quarterly basis only. The result has been a mainly upwards revision of the January and February price indices.

    Publication of average house prices

    From the publication of the April 2012 House Price Index onwards, ONS will change how average house price levels are reported. Price estimates will be published rounded to the nearest thousand pounds, instead of rounded to the nearest pound.

    Taking forward the recommendations from the National Statistician’s review of UK house price statistics.

    In December 2010, the UK National Statistician published a review of UK house price statistics. The review report recommended that the producers of official housing market statistics should work together to produce a regular combined statistical release containing the main official measures of house prices and consider the development of a definitive official measure. 

    Since the successful transfer of the house price index to ONS in March 2012, initial discussions have taken place between the main producers of official house price statistics to identify what work is required to take forward the review recommendations. The departments involved in these discussions are Land Registry for England and Wales, Registers of Scotland, Department of Finance and Personnel Northern Ireland and the Office for National Statistics.

    It has been agreed that ONS will take the lead in the development of its house price index to become the headline National Statistic for house prices. This lead house price index will be the measure that best meets the majority of the criteria laid out in the review report. The remaining official house price indices will continue to be published in their current format, which is likely to be timelier than the headline measure, but work will be carried out to better explain how these indices will sit alongside the National Statistic and provide fuller commentary that brings together each official measure.

    A project will commence in June 2012 to take forward the development work. Further details will be published in July 2012 which will identify the development work which will take place and a timetable for the completion of work. 

  2. Relevance of the ONS House Price Index

    The ONS HPI is an important measure of house price inflation for the UK and together with the Land Registry HPI, it is one of the main house price indices used by central and local government to support decision making in the UK. Other users include private individuals, surveyors and analysts in financial institutions.

    The ONS HPI is also an important input into the housing cost component of the Retail Prices Index (RPI). Each month a customised HPI delivery is produced using a sub-sample of the full data set for use in the RPI.

  3. Revisions Policy

    At the end of every quarter, as well as releasing final figures for the latest month, ONS revises the figures from the previous two months. This is done because some mortgage lenders, which account for 1 to 2 per cent of all records, provide their data on a quarterly rather than monthly basis. Additionally, data will be revised for the previous month if more than 1,000 additional cases are received in a subsequent month.

    Other revisions to historical data (other than those currently due for revision) will be made only if the revision is substantial.

    In all cases, the revised figures are labeled with an "R" and the reason for the revision explained under the 'New this month' section of the background notes.

  4. Methodology

    Data Sources

    Since October 2005 the ONS HPI (formerly the DCLG HPI) has been based on a sample of mortgage completions data from the Regulated Mortgage Survey (RMS) as collected by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

    The number of transactions received from the RMS is affected by the total number of mortgages completed for house purchase in any period. During 2011 the sample covered 65-70 per cent of all UK mortgage completions.

    Price Methodology

    The ONS HPI is mix-adjusted to allow for differences between houses sold (for example type, number of rooms, location) in different months within a year. House prices are modelled using a combination of characteristics to produce a model containing around 100,000 cells (one such cell could be first time buyer, old dwelling, one bedroom flat purchased in London). Each month estimated prices for all cells are produced by the model and then combined with their appropriate weight to produce mix-adjusted average prices. The index values are based on growth rates in the mix-adjusted average house prices and are annually chain linked. More information on the model used is available on the Communities website.

    Re-weighting

    The ONS HPI is a weighted Laspeyres-type index. In January of each year the index weights are updated based on the relative numbers of transactions during the previous three years, which are grossed to total transactions obtained from Land Registry. Applying new weights ensures that the index keeps up to date with changes in the types of properties that are being purchased, and therefore reflects the price of the average property.

    One consequence of changing the weights every year is that the mix-adjusted house prices cannot be compared between years as the weights are different. However, by annually chain linking the indices, the HPI index, and year-on-year comparisons based on the index can be made. This is similar to the chaining done in the Consumer Price Indices (CPI) and Retail Prices Index.

    More information on the HPI methodology is available on the Communities website.

    Seasonal adjustment

    Seasonally adjusted estimates are provided at a national level alongside the non-seasonally adjusted figures. Seasonal adjustment is performed each month and reviewed each year, using the standard and widely used software X-12-ARIMA. Seasonally adjusted house price estimates are used to report monthly percentage changes. All other figures such as annual rates of change and average house prices are based on non-seasonally adjusted estimates, unless otherwise stated.

  5. Other House Price Statistics

    Currently there are a number of different sources of house price statistics published in addition to the ONS HPI. There will be differences in the data published by each source as there are differences in both the data and methodology used. Therefore the ONS HPI is not directly comparable with these other indicators.

    Land Registry House Price Index

    All residential property transactions in England and Wales are recorded by Land Registry. These transactions are used for calculating the Land Registry index. This index is based on repeat-sales regression, which calculates the change in price of any property transacted twice since 1995. Therefore new build properties are excluded from the index. Land Registry publishes indices at a sub-regional level. The Land Registry HPI is normally published on the 20th working day of every month, and refers to all transactions of the preceding month.

    The Land Registry HPI can be found on the Land Registry website.

    Registers of Scotland House Price Index

    Registers of Scotland records all the property transactions in Scotland. It produces a housing price index based on arithmetic means of these transactions, which is published in the second month after the month to which the figures refer to.

    The Registers of Scotland index can accessed on their website.

    Halifax House Price Index and Nationwide House Price Index

    Both Halifax and Nationwide produce house price indices based on their own mortgage approvals only and therefore, like the ONS HPI, will not include any cash transactions. They both have UK-wide coverage, and since the Halifax and Nationwide use only their own in-house data they can process them immediately and do not have to await the receipt of data from other lenders . This means that they are more timely than the ONS HPI.

    In addition, other indices are also produced. Rightmove tracks the asking prices of properties in its website, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) produces an opinion survey of its surveyors regarding the direction that prices are moving in, and LSL/Acadametrics estimates an average weighted house price based on completions for all counties.

    Full details on the alternative house price statistics can be accessed via the National Statistician's Review of House Price Statistics.

  6. Accessibility

    This bulletin includes the March 2012 data. Future publication dates for this Statistical Bulletin are available via the Publication Hub.

  7. General

    Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office. A list of those receiving pre-release access to this release (37.2 Kb Pdf) is also available.

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Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
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Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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