It can be difficult to keep up with all of the latest housing reports and news headlines in the property industry, and some of them can even seem contradictory. So, how do you make sure you’re properly understanding property reports, finding accurate information, and debunking headlines?
Here’s a guide to help you do just that, so you can understand the market better and make more informed decisions when buying and investing!
Different types of housing reports
We’ll start by looking at a number of different types of reports that cover housing data. Here’s a breakdown of the main ones and what you should keep in mind when reading these.
There are a range of house price indexes out there with many producing figures that vary significantly across the same time period. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes its monthly UK House Price Index by calculating data from HM Land Registry, Registers of Scotland and Land and Property Services Northern Ireland.
It’s often considered the most accurate house price index as it’s based on actual sold prices. Other house price indexes typically account for only a small portion of data. As the ONS figures include the whole market, this can be some of the most helpful data to consider when looking at house price trends.
The monthly index is usually published a couple months after the reporting month but still provides a helpful look at what’s been happening with prices. The report includes the average price of a property in the UK, monthly and annual price changes and figures for each country and government office region.
Additionally, the ONS also runs the Census in England and Wales, which takes place every 10 years and gives a full picture of households. The latest Census was in 2021 and provides a look at the past decade, in addition to trends and changes happening across the housing sector.
Property listing websites also often publish housing reports, including house and rental price indexes. But these companies are unregulated and fake listings are even common industry practice for lead generation purposes.
Additionally, listing platforms typically use asking price data instead of sold prices, making the figures less accurate to what properties are actually selling for. And not all properties are sold through specific portals, so it doesn’t always provide an accurate picture.
There are a number of mortgage providers and lenders who also frequently collect data and publish reports on the housing market. But these figures are often restricted to their sector and the mortgage provider’s client base, so the depth of their findings can be limited.
There are a whole raft of sentiment reports out there as well. These are often subjective and based on opinion – not facts and figures.
With these, there is often more narrative and not necessarily numbers backing up what they’re saying, or they may only be using certain data that they have cherry picked to prove the point they want to get across, leaving out other information.
All over the property industry, there are a wide range of companies that release their own reports. These are often self-reported. This means the data can be questionable often due to low numbers, making it unclear whether these are actual trends happening across the housing market.
Beat the headlines
With so many different reports constantly being published and covered across the property industry, it can seem hard to cipher through what’s being reported and finding the truth of what’s actually going on.
When you read through housing reports and news articles, it’s important to read beyond the headlines. In order to wade through what’s out there, debunk certain claims and figure out the real meaning behind property reports, there are a few things you can do. Here are some of our top tips to help you!
- Start by always finding out the source of the information and how they got the numbers. How do they collect the figures? Is there a large enough pool of data? What could skew or impact their results?
- Decipher between fact and fiction. Research what’s being covered further. Make sure you understand what’s fact and fiction as there are numerous misconceptions and myths that frequently make their rounds across property news outlets.
- Understand what is causation and opinion. It can be helpful to stick to numbers and what historically impacts certain things in the property industry. Can what someone is saying be backed up or is it just what they think is happening or will happen in the future?
- Steer clear of exaggeration and clickbait articles. These are all too common to get more clicks and improve SEO rankings. Context is everything, so dive into the details and find out what’s really behind these statements.
Factors impacting property marketing right now
There are many common factors impacting property marketing right now. And sometimes reports and headlines are used to push these angles.
For starters, Help to Buy, a government scheme for first-time buyers has closed to new applications and will come to an end on 31 March 2023. Large housebuilders have been relying on this scheme for up to 60% of their sales. So, this may impact what these housebuilders are publishing in order to promote more sales to other types of buyers.
Interest rates are another topic being frequently talked about across the property industry. Mortgage rates have been fluctuating since the fallout of the mini-budget announced in September. While rates have been stabilising, there are further increases expected this year. Make sure you get accurate, reputable and up-to-date information on this.
Lastly, construction costs are rising as labour and material prices, in addition to other costs, have been increasing. This can bring challenges for certain housebuilders who rely on selling their homes off-plan to fund developments, making it pivotal that they sell a certain number of plots before being able to even proceed with construction.
The importance of debunking the headlines
No matter what you’re reading about the property market, it’s helpful to have an understanding of what’s actually going on right now in the sector and what’s happened in the past.
This can help ensure you’re making more informed decisions about your property investment, often allowing you to be more successful as an investor! And as you learn more about the industry, you’ll likely be able to more easily wade through housing reports and news headlines for the facts.