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Official house price figures are finally released – but tell us little about the current market

Isabelle Fraser
·2-min read
illo
illo

Official house price data have been relaunched for the first time after the property market was shut down and transactions ground to a halt during lockdown.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics and Land Registry, show that house prices fell on average 0.2pc between March and April, and rose 2.6pc in the 12 months to April, down from 3.5pc in March. Prices in the South West and North East fell at the steepest rate in the country during the month.

This shows the pre-Covid world of deals done largely in the first quarter of the year that were completed when the market was closed, and reflects a tapering off of the "Boris Bounce" that boosted prices and confidence after the December election.

The release of official figures was paused due to the shutdown of the property market, as there were not enough transactions to create accurate data. This is the first time the figures have been published since May, which showed March's house prices.

The numbers, which have a four month lag, tell us nothing about the current mini-boom in the property market. 

Joshua Elash, of lender MT Finance, said: "This positive data reflects the tail end of the Boris Bounce but it's not until we get the data in relation to activity in July that we will get a really clear picture of the subsequent impact the pandemic and the Government’s response on property values. 

"Today’s data is as positive as it is irrelevant. Expect this to change."

Separate research by analysis firm LonRes found that there was a 39pc rise in listings of properties for sale in the most expensive areas of London in July. But it said that supply is still constrained, with the number of properties on the market just 9pc higher than the same month last year.

Exchanges were down 14pc on last year, but prices were 1.6pc higher in London's most expensive postcodes.