House prices went up but really down in September

Average house prices crept up 0.3% in September, Nationwide has reported.

Average house prices crept up 0.3% in September, Nationwide has reported.

However, thanks to the wonders of “seasonal adjustment” Nationwide has also reported that house prices dropped slightly.

The lender says the average was £206,015, down from the £206,145 it reported in August.

The slight fall – or was it a slight rise? – has apparently brought annual house price inflation down from 5.6% to 5.3%.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “The pace of annual house price growth slowed to 5.3% in September, from 5.6% in August, though it remained within the narrow range of 3% to 6% that has prevailed since early 2015.

“The relative stability in the rate of house price growth suggests that the softening in housing demand evident in recent months has been broadly matched on the supply side of the market.

“Survey data indicates that, while new buyer enquiries have remained fairly subdued, the number of homes on the market has remained close to all-time lows, in part due to low rates of construction activity.”

Truly, it is time that these ‘official’ figures stopped playing around with seasonal adjustment and simply gave us the actual figures consistently and all the time.

It is a serious point: if they continue to massage figures upwards and downwards depending on the time of year and whether someone sneezed over their breakfast cereal, how can we tell what the housing market is really doing, especially in the light of government interventions and the likes of Brexit?

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Written by: Houseladder