If you’re thinking of buying property as an investment, or moving into a new area, house price surveys can be an invaluable aid. But with so many available, which ones do you believe – and how do you make sense of them? Here’s a quick guide to what they’re all about:
Land registry – this records all property sales in England and Wales, and publishes a monthly report on house prices. Its quarterly survey provides an accurate insight into national and local trends – right down to postcode areas.
Government price survey – this monthly survey is generally less useful than the Land Registry, as it analyses overall trends for the UK. It does however have separate figures for first time buyers.
Nationwide and Halifax – the best-known surveys of the housing market, provided by the UK’s two largest mortgage lenders. Although they are very good as regards mortgage financed property sales, they do not include cash purchases.
Royal institution of Chartered Surveyors – this survey is all about confidence levels in the market, rather than actual prices. The survey reflects the opinion of surveyors and estate agents and is an excellent gauge of the mood of the market and probable coming trends.
Hometrack and Rightmove – these are both produced by property websites. Hometrack is an excellent guide to current prices and informs you whether asking prices are rising or falling. Rightmove collates asking prices from it’s own website, which it claims to be 35% of all those homes on sale.
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