UK HPI improvements announced

The results from a survey regarding the UK House Price Index has been released.

Launched in June of this year, the UK House Price Index (UK HPI) is a collaborative production of Land Registry, The Land & Property Services/Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency, Office for National Statistics, and Registers of Scotland.

UK HPI now exists in place of the previous house price indices which the Office for National Statistics and Land Registry published separately.

In a bid to assist evaluation within a report on the Index, users were asked during September 2016 to take part in a questionnaire. The received responses have been used to aid future improvement planning.

Reponses

A total of 68 individuals submitted the questionnaire. The resulting feedback gathered was from a wide range of users and included user views from both local and central government, property organisation, financial institutions in addition to citizens.

Although in some areas the suggested changes can and will be made, making alterations in other areas may be more difficult.

Challenging issues

‘Publication timing’ was highlighted as an issue by several users, commenting that the UK HPI was released late in comparison to other indices. The date of the report’s publication is dependent upon the availability of data. Whereas Nationwide and Halifax rely on their own mortgage approvals data for example, Rightmove use asking price. For the UK HPI, conveyancing data is extracted from completed sales.

Other indices can be published earlier as they use data extracted at an earlier point in the conveyancing process. For the punctuality of the UK HPI to be improved, the data would need to be cut and received at an earlier point. This would then have a negative impact on the quality of the output as estimates would be based on a smaller number of transactions. The Government do not currently have any plans to alter the scheduled publication of the UK HPI.

Scheduled improvements

Changes that are possible however, will be made and have been split into two separate packages, with the first being implemented as part of December’s 2016 publication. The second package is scheduled for release in the spring or summer of 2017.

In package 1, the Government intends to:

  • Increase levels of detail on the methodology which forms part of “About UK HPI”
  • Improve user navigation by including links to the interactive tool on the main page
  • Publish an article in February 2017 which outlines the key stories from the past year; this will be published in addition to the monthly release

In package 2, the Government intends to:

  • Improve accessibility of data within the tables of the reports
  • Provide datasets with geographic codes
  • Bring together the historic series and main dataset as opposed to keeping them separate
  • Improve data download presentation and make accessing the data more user friendly
  • Increase the publication of data breakdowns by publishing volumes for cash/mortgage sales and new/old properties
  • As part of the interactive tool, increase the data available, e.g. a first-time buyer/former owner occupier breakdown
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