The Office for Budget Responsibility, which released its latest economic forecasts on Wednesday, has adjusted its prediction for UK house prices…again.
It is now expecting prices to rise by 6.5%, up from 4% the last time it published on the subject.
Perhaps the new forecast is more correct than the previous forecast, maybe the previous forecast was right for the time - but times have changed - and maybe both will turn out to be wrong because times will change again.
Whichever way we look at it, it won’t actually be the amount by which any one home will increase in value – or at least if it is, that will be a coincidence because, as any estate agent knows, it will depend on the size, the street, the competition, the condition, the neighbourhood, the transport, the local economy and so on, and so on.
Of course, national averages have their uses – but there is simply no substitute for fine-grained local market intelligence - more than a gut-feel but less than calculating the average of 1.2 million annual transactions.
Estate agents have traditionally been the gatekeepers of local market insight but, as Michael Gove famously pointed out, consumers today no longer feel comfortable with experts. Consumers look for hard, evidenced facts and, in these days of fake news and ill-considered tweets, who can blame them?
But accurate analysis can offer up a cornucopia of ‘correct’ answers. Take the question of how is this local market performing? Do we look over the last quarter/year/five years? Measure by volume of transactions or price growth? For this street or within a square km? For all prices/sizes/ages? There are many variations and each one, technically, gives a correct answer.
In practice, it may well be that a combination of all of these correct answers is necessary to build a full understanding of the way the market is performing.
Dataloft has a long history of writing bespoke consultancy reports, picking apart local property market data and improving market transparency - but it’s expensive, time-consuming and complicated.
That is why, over the past two years, we invested in developing an automated analytics system that delivers local market intelligence, online, in fine detail, at a fraction of the cost of a bespoke report.
Dataloft Inform has something in the order of 140 chart permutations for every local area, as well as text, tables, key statistics and infographics. We are so proud of our product that we decided to showcase a regular Local Area Profile on the Estate Agent Today website and we have started this week with a focus on Lincoln.
Why Lincoln? For no better reason than that its tiny football club is the first non-league side to reach the FA cup quarter-finals in 103 years (we all love statistics and some of us also love sport).
Over the next few months, we will wind our way through towns and cities across England and Wales, to give you a small taster of what we have created with Inform.
*Dataloft are a team of top property industry analysts - they see the story in statistics.