The arrival of a single official house price index comes one step closer later this month with a so-called ‘user event’ organised by the Office for National Statistics ahead of the launch of the index itself in June.
Over the past 18 months we have reported on the progress of the new index.
Back in December 2010 the National Statistician recommended that ”a single definitive house price index and accompanying statistics should be produced by the official statistics producer community” and should be based on completion prices, should give a UK-wide picture, and be updated monthly.
Since that time the ONS has been working for some years with the Land Registry, Land & Property Services Northern Ireland and the Registers of Scotland on achieving a single unified ‘official’ government index for the entire UK.
This would avoid the apparent contradictions between different indices produced by different national regions and sometimes different government bodies. In October 2014, when momentum for a unified index increased, the ONS admitted that the different indices produced by these public sector departments “can sometimes lead to contradictory messages for users who are unfamiliar with the differences in methodology and scope of each measure. This in turn can make decision making difficult based on the house price data available.”
After a series of minor delays caused by technical and methodogical issues, it now appears that the June 2016 deadline for the appearance of the new index will be met with this month’s ‘user event’ being part of the build-up to the launch.
The event, in London on March 30, will look at the new index and how it compares against existing house price measures.