This article accompanies the first release of House Price Statistics for Small Areas (HPSSAs) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and provides a brief overview of average (median) house prices using data on the sales price of residential properties in England and Wales between 1995 and 2013.
The article describes trends and features of average house prices paid over this period for three different geographies: local authorities, parliamentary constituencies and middle layer super output areas (MSOAs).
HPSSAs report statistics on median house prices covering all dwelling types along with separate median house price statistics for different dwelling types covering detached, semi-detached, and terraced houses, flats and maisonettes. For the reported median house prices, associated counts of property sales are also published. These house price statistics are calculated using publicly available data from the Land Registry.
These house price statistics provide an accurate representation of the price paid for residential properties sold in a given area. They are useful for assessing the affordability of housing in small areas as well as broad patterns in prices and the number of house sales over time. They provide a level of spatial detail not currently available in the ONS House Price Index (HPI) which reports house prices at regional and national level. The HPI provides a more appropriate measure for residential property values at national and regional level as it reflects the overall housing stock, mix adjusting to account for differences in the types of houses sold, numbers of bedrooms and the overall dwelling stock.
HPSSAs are not mix adjusted because they report only on properties that are actually sold. Variations in the composition of dwelling types and housing quality can influence median house prices, however these variations help inform understanding of spatial differences in median house prices and affordability.
Why is it important to look at the number of sales for different dwelling types?
The number and proportion of sales of different types of dwelling can change over time within and between areas. For example, in one year an area’s total house sales might comprise 70% detached houses and the following year it might only comprise 40% detached houses. Knowing this composition of sales can give further meaning to median house price changes and help to understand fluctuations over time and between areas. Median house prices may change because of this compositional variation and can also change because of fluctuations in property values.Back to table of contents
The House Price Statistics for Small Areas have also been produced for the 573 parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales, which may help inform policy and debate. These are the first official statistics on house prices for this geography.
Map 3: Median house price by parliamentary constituency and major London transport links
England and Wales, 2013
Sources: ONS and Land Registry
- Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2015
- Data produced by Land Registry © Crown copyright
- The data covers the transactions received by the Land Registry between 1 January and 31 December 2013 © Crown copyright 2013
- Click on image to view a larger version
Parliamentary constituencies provide data at a geographic level generally smaller than local authorities but larger than MSOAs. This can allow observations of patterns that may not be apparent otherwise. One such trend is the relatively higher prices paid for houses around major transport routes into London with areas around major motorways such as the M1, M3, M4 and the M11, as well as rail links into London showing higher house prices than their surrounding constituencies.Back to table of contents
Why are MSOAs useful when looking at median house prices?
MSOAs are areas created by grouping lower layer super output areas or LSOAs (groups of output areas, the smallest statistical area) in order to produce roughly similar areas in terms of population for the reporting of statistics. An MSOA contains a minimum of 5,000 residents and 3,000 households with an average population size of 7,500. There are 7,201 MSOAs in England and Wales. For a more detailed explanation of MSOAs and other statistical geographies visit the ONS guidance page on output areas.
MSOAs are useful in providing a more detailed local picture of house prices and how they vary within a given local authority or area. This can be helpful in assessing the affordability of homes for small areas where more general local authority statistics would not provide adequate resolution. Due to the relatively small number of sales it is not possible to produce robust median house prices using the SAHPS methodology for any smaller geography than MSOAs. This means that MSOA is the smallest geographic level for which SAHPS are published.
Highest and lowest median house prices for all dwelling types by MSOA
In 2013, the MSOA with the highest median house price was Westminster 019 with a median house price of £3,475,000. This was over 100 times more expensive than the least expensive MSOA, Burnley 003, where the median house price was £33,500. This was in stark contrast with data from 1995, the start of the time series, when house prices in the MSOA Westminster 019 were the most expensive, with a median of £327,000. This was over 24 times as expensive as Sheffield 073, the MSOA with the least expensive median house price at £13,500.
Highest and lowest median house prices (all dwelling types) for English regions and Wales by MSOA, 2013
Sources: ONS and Land Registry
When ranking the 7,201 MSOAs in England and Wales in ascending order by median house price for all dwelling types, of the bottom 1,000 MSOAs, only three were in the South East and none were in London. Conversely, of the top 500 MSOAs, only 43 were areas outside of London and the South East.
Distribution of house prices in England and Wales by MSOA
Of all the MSOAs in England and Wales, in 2013 only 172 (2%) had a median house price for all dwelling types greater than £500,000. There were 5,759 MSOAs (78%) with a median house price of £250,000 or below and 932 MSOAs (13%) where median prices were £100,000 or below. The following distribution chart illustrates the range of median house prices and shows how areas with the highest median house prices comprise a relatively small proportion of MSOAs.
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