An unexpected casualty of Coronavirus has emerged today after Rightmove and almost all the other main house price indices revealed that they are either suspending or reviewing what they release each month.
Rightmove has today said that its house price index is no longer ‘meaningful’ because the portal does not have enough data on which to base its reports.
This will be first time that the UK’s house price indices have faltered since the first, the Nationwide, began publishing its data in 1952.
But house price index data is more than just fuel for shock newspaper headlines about price rises and falls; it is now used to create the automated valuation models much used by both agents and portals to attract customers.
The Negotiator has spoken to all of the key indices to find out how long they can continue as the property market remains frozen.
“In this month’s report the time period was both pre and post lockdown and so there was enough data to include the usual lead indicator measures, but we’ve made clear that they are not meaningful and have been published for continuation purposes of the series,” a Rightmove spokesperson told us.
“Each month we will review if there are any measures that should not be included and will add alternative insights where this is the case.”
The research consultancy has paused its Property & Home Mover Report covering Q1 ‘due to the lock down but will look to publish once the market reopens’.
Lloyds Bank (Halifax)
“Activity will inevitably fall sharply in the coming months and with less data available, calculating average house prices is likely to become more challenging in the short-term. We continue to monitor the market and will provide any updates as necessary,” said a spokesperson.
“There are no plans to change how we issue our House Price Index at present,” a spokesperson said.
“But the index, as with any other, depends on activity in the housing market being maintained at some level.
“We could continue producing the house price index based on a fraction of the levels of approvals recorded in recent quarters. Activity is expected to fall sharply in the weeks ahead and we will continue to monitor developments closely.”
The company says that as things currently stand, it does not expect to publish its monthly house price indices in April, May or June.
“We are monitoring the situation regarding the availability of data on a daily basis,” it says.
Says it has no plans at present to put out anything in the short term.