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Why do Land Registry figures differ from property surveys?

The Land Registry today issued data which indicates that UK house prices fell by 0.6% in March, which is well out of sync with recent property surveys from the Halifax and Nationwide. Indeed the annual rate of growth in the UK property market, according to Land Registry figures, was just 7.5% compared to the 10% figure confirmed by the Halifax and Nationwide. So why do the figures differ so markedly?

To understand the data you need to understand that the Land Registry figures are based on completed sales. Therefore, by very definition they will lag the information arrived at using sale agreement data as oppose to sale settlement data. It is this timeline between agreeing a sale and settling a sale and confirming with the Land Registry which causes the difference in performance figures. As a consequence of the difficult December and January period for the UK economy, as well as difficult weather conditions, this is the reason why the information from the Land Registry paints a different picture.

However, even if all of the property surveys in the UK were "singing from the same hymn sheet" it is likely we would get a different picture from each survey. The UK property market at the moment is very mixed and very difficult to forecast.

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