News story

Improving the UK HPI: Summary of responses

Results of a survey about the UK House Price Index conducted in September 2016.

online tool

The UK House Price Index (UK HPI) is a joint production of Land Registry, The Land & Property Services/Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency, Office for National Statistics and Registers of Scotland.

Launched in June 2016, it replaced the previous house price indices published separately by Land Registry and the Office for National Statistics.

In September 2016, users of the Index were invited to complete a questionnaire to aid evaluation of different aspects of the report. The responses have been used to plan future improvements.

To receive a copy of questionnaire responses contact Lorna Jordan.

Summary of responses

Respondents represented a diverse range of user views, from central and local government, financial institutions, property organisations and citizens. In total 68 respondents completed the questionnaire.

Next steps

There are some areas where we can and will implement suggested improvements, while other areas present more of a challenge.

A number of users cited ‘publication timing’ as an issue, as the UK HPI is released later than other indices. Publication of our report is constrained by data availability. For example Rightmove use asking price, other sources such as Nationwide and Halifax use their own mortgage approvals data. The UK HPI use conveyancing data extracted from completed sales.

As other indices tend to use data extracted earlier in the conveyance process, their reports can be published sooner. In order to improve the timeliness of the UK HPI, an early cut of the data would be required. This would mean estimates would be based on fewer transactions, which would have a negative effect on the quality of the output. Subsequently we have no plans to change the publication schedule of the UK HPI.

Planned changes

There are other areas where we can make improvements. As some of these are more difficult to implement than others we’ve broken them into two packages. The first package was implemented as part of the December 2016 publication. We aim to release the second package in spring or summer 2017.

Package 1: December 2016

We will:

  • provide more detail on our methodology as part of ‘About UK HPI’

  • improve the user navigation by providing links to the interactive tool on the main page

  • commit to publish an annual article in February 2017, detailing the key stories of the past year. This will be published alongside the monthly release.

Package 2: spring or summer 2017

We will:

  • make the data in the tables of the reports more accessible

  • add geographic codes to datasets

  • combine the historic series and main dataset – rather than having them separate

  • improve the presentation of the data downloads and make accessing the data more user friendly

  • increase the data breakdowns published, by also publishing volumes for cash/mortgage sales and new/old properties

  • increase the data available as part of the interactive tool, such as a first time buyer/former owner occupier breakdown.

We will keep you updated on this work via blogs and social media: @ONS and @LandRegGov. If you have any further queries please contact:

David Lockett, Product Manager, HM Land Registry

Rhys Lewis, Head of Housing Market Indices, Office for National Statistics

Published 16 December 2016