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New Unified House Price Index, House Price Data,Unlocking Public Sector data for ONS

  • UK house prices increased by 7.0% in the year to October 2015, up from 6.1% in the year to September 2015.

  • House price annual inflation was 7.4% in England, 1.0% in Wales, 0.9% in Scotland and 10.3% in Northern Ireland.

  • Annual house price increases in England were driven by an annual increase in the East (10.4%) and the South East (9.5%).

  • Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 5.6% in the 12 months to October 2015.

  • On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices increased by 0.8% between September and October 2015.

  • In October 2015, prices paid by first-time buyers were 5.9% higher on average than in October 2014.

  • For owner-occupiers (existing owners), prices increased 7.4% for the same period.

  • Average mix-adjusted house prices in October 2015 reached £300,000 in England and stood at £174,000 in Wales, £196,000 in Scotland and £158,000 in Northern Ireland.

That means that the average UK home now costs £287,000.House prices have been growing particularly quickly in eastern England, where they rose 10.4% in the past year.The south east of England also saw rapid growth, with prices up 9.5% over the past 12 months.The ONS noted that the annual rate of price growth across the whole of the UK had now risen for three months in a row.

"Upwards pressure on house prices may be a result of a shortage of supply and a strengthening of demand in the housing market, a view supported by a number of house market indicators," the ONS said.

"There continues to be weak supply in the market, with the Bank of England's Agents' Summary Conditions for October reporting a shortage of properties available for sale."

The ONS figures are in the middle of a range of those produced by the various leading house price indexes, though all have shown that prices have risen in the past year.

The Nationwide said UK prices rose by 3.7% in the year to November, while rival lender the Halifax said prices were up 9%.

The Land Registry, drawing on its own data, says prices in England and Wales went up 5.6% in the year to October.

During the summer the Office for National Statistics announced that the results of a consultation process - held between October and December last year - had been processed and that “good progress had been made in a number of areas.” This had prompted hopes that the new index might be launched in the New Year.

However, a more recent announcement by the ONS - at the end of a scheduled release of house price data - reveals that “there have been delays in securing access to the data required to begin test production of the new index.” The office adds: “Work is still progressing.”

In a key part of its statement, the ONS says: “The Development Working Group has also been considering the transition to the new house price index for users. Further details regarding the transition plan will be published in early 2016, and will likely include a number of user events to fully explain the changes ahead of the anticipated first publication of the new index by June 2016.”

Yesterday, the ONS confirmed that despite a further lag - concerning (via the Scottish Energy Performance Certificates) the mid-2016 deadline is on track.

All data collected and held by public sector bodies should be opened up to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to transform the production of economic statistics, according to a new report published, earlier this month.

Professor Sir Charlie Bean is leading the Independent Review of UK Economic Statistics into how to future-proof ONS’s statistics so that they capture Britain’s fast-changing and modern economy. Today’s Interim Report sets out strategic recommendations, with a number of specific supporting actions, to help achieve his vision of cutting-edge economic statistics.

One of the key recommendations is for ONS to make the most of new data sources and the technologies for dealing with them. In the course of its day-to-day business the public sector collects vast amounts of data. While the government has made some progress in opening up this data, it is still not shared with ONS as fully as it could be. This detailed microdata could be used by ONS to bring it closer to the cutting edge in producing more insightful, timely and accurate economic statistics. Using government administrative data could help improve many economic statistics, including providing more accurate early estimates of GDP, improving regional statistics, and providing more insight into financial, trade and labour market flows.

The Report recommends that new legislation is required to overcome existing barriers and help open up all publically-held microdata to ONS to improve their economic statistics, while ensuring appropriate ethical safeguards are in place and privacy is protected.

In order to fully exploit these new sources of data, including potentially also from the private sector, the report recommends ONS invest in technology and staff, including a cadre of data scientists. To ensure ONS moves ever closer to the cutting edge, the report recommends that it should constantly be on the lookout for new data sources and techniques, learning from businesses and statisticians everywhere.

House Price Index, October 2015  <download PDF

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Bank of England dampens prospects of early UK rate rise >Raising interest rates to deal with housing market problems would hit the rest of the economy too hard 

Britain building again as new homes rise by a quarter 

Bank of England maintains Bank Rate at 0.5% and the size of the Asset Purchase Programme at £375 billion

Royal Institute Chatered Surveyors report rapid November 2015 house price growth, lack of homes