According to the Land Registry’s latest house price index the cost of an average house rose by 1.1% in January.

The Land Registry puts the price of the average house in England and Wales at £161,545. But although the price is up on a month by month basis, on an annual basis the price of an average house has dropped by 1%.

The Land Registry HPI (landreg.gov.uk/upload/documents/HPI_Report_Jan_12_pv4ep17.pdf) now stands at 259.1, where the base of 100 was set in 1995.

When looking at London only , which is of course the most expensive region to buy, the average house price is now £351,305, which is 2.5% up on the month and 2.9% up on the year as well.

The region with the lowest average house price is the North East at £102,066.

All regions except the North West show an increase on the month and all regions except London show a decrease over the year.

But before we get all excited about an upswing in the housing market across the board let’s take a look at the long term trend.

The first graph below shows the main house price indexes: Land Registry, Nationwide, Halifax and Rightmove asking prices. Also included is a line that shows the average of the Halifax and Nationwide indexes.

You can see that the Rightmove asking prices at the top are far higher than what the lenders and the Land Registry are actually seeing (something to bear in mind when making that offer). But just note how close together the others are and how prices have been levelling out.

Also you will note that in February Rightmove asking prices rose again, but there is no data from the other sources yet for February. (Click on the images to enlarge them.)

Jan 2012 House Price Indexes

Jan 2012 House Price Indexes

The next graph shows the same indexes in an exploded view, Rightmove has been omitted as it is outside the graph scales.

HPI-Jan2012-all

Jan 2012 House Price Indexes (exploded view)

This last graph shows by how much Rightmove asking prices are greater than the prices that the Land Registry is seeing.

You will see that despite the obvious concerns about the market, vendors and their agents keep asking ever more than the property is really worth. In January 2007 for example Rightmove asking prices were about 1.28 times (28% more than) the Land Registry average but by January 2012 this had risen to 1.39 times (39% more); a marked upward trend. And this does not take into account the latest uptick in Rightmove asking prices in February.

Rightmove asking prices compared to Land Registry

Rightmove asking prices compared to Land Registry

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