In the UK where owning a home is everyone's aspiration the constant talk about property is never far away. And that includes all the facts and figures relating to asking prices, mortgages, completions, new instructions, interest rates etc.
The talk and facts are also now a lot closer and more available to us as the mobile device revolution continues, as you will see from the numbers below.
With house prices still going up many people forget that inflation erodes those gains in real terms, something that the graph below illustrates.
Here are ten sets of figures kindly provided by Rightmove that may have passed you by:
1. In the third quarter of 2013 house transactions were up on last year by 21 percent in England and Wales and by 23 percent in Scotland.
2. Over the first nine months of 2013 the monthly mortgage approval rate increased to nearly 60,000, which is a rise of 25 percent on the monthly average for the previous four years.
3. Although new instructions in England and wales are still down by 15 percent on the 2008 numbers, they are up by 3 percent on last year.
4. For the 12 months to mid 2013 new build starts averaged at a tad over 22,000 per quarter. This is running very marginally ahead of completions, which are running at 21,275 a quarter.
5. Four out of five home movers believe the average asking price will be higher in a year's time than it is now.
6. When adjusted for inflation the average asking price of a house in England and Wales is only 4 percent higher than in 2003, which may come as a bit of a surprise. As an example, a house with an asking price of £170,000 in 2003 would be on the market for £235,983 today. Check out this interactive graph and compare prices month by month.
Graph by Rightmove for The Economic Voice
7. Rightmove reports that in October 2013 a staggering 29 percent of e-mail enquiries about properties for sale and 25 percent regarding lettings all came from mobile devices showing how the information revolution continues apace.
8. Rental properties are also on the rise with new supply in October up 7 percent on 2012 and total available stock up by 8 percent.
9. Also, 96 percent of tenants are still dreaming of owning their own place one day, with 70 percent saying 'they will never stop trying'.
10. Rightmove says that 'the big unknown' for the next year will be Help to Buy, where many people are unsure and confused about it. Of those that say they understand the government's Help to Buy scheme, 42 percent believe it applies only to first time buyers and 23 percent say it only applies to buyers of new builds.
As to the future, pointing to an improving economy, rising confidence and increased lending Rightmove says that transactions will grow but will 'remain historically low'. There will also be price growth but, even with the pressure of population growth not being matched by the available housing stock, Rightmove does not see the formation of a house price bubble. This is because only in London and the South East are house prices out-pacing inflation whereas in the North prices are where they were five years ago. But on the building of new housing Rightmove does say:
"The House Builders Federation (HBF) estimates that we need to build at least 220,000 homes a year in order to meet current household growth projections. This figure does not take into account the historical undersupply of homes and so should be viewed as a minimum. In 2012/3 less than 110,000 were actually completed. Recent research from Savills calls for 50,000 new homes a year in London alone. So what are the barriers to increasing the number of new homes? A shortage of skills and materials are definite issues, but industry experts cite restrictive planning rules as the key barrier to growth at the level required."