Have house prices hit a ten month high?

21 March 2011

"THE housing market is finally showing signs of recovery as prices hit their highest level in more than 10 months." Daily Express, 21 March 2011

Great news for Express reading homeowners today. House prices have risen to a ten month high, they are told.

But is this really what has happened? A previous factcheck of Express coverage of house prices suggested this may be too good to be true.

The figures, compiled by housing market website findaproperty.com, tell a different story, shown in the graph below.

The report sounds a much gloomier note:"Average asking prices across the UK reversed a three month decline this month increasing by 0.3% in February to £215,846 across all property types. However, asking prices are still 0.4% lower than 12 months ago."

So where did the Express get their figures from? Luckily Findaproperty.com press team were able to shed some light on the issue, there had been, we were told, something of a misunderstanding on the part of the Express.

"The press release which was sent out to the Express and many other property journalists and newspapers said that the monthly rise was 0.5 per cent, the biggest monthly rise in 10 months."

This had been the headline of the release that went out because the increase was "quite a large increase as fluctuations go."

So, while there might be a hint of good news in the biggest jump in prices recorded for ten months, prices have not hit a ten month high.

Findaproperty.com's report also raises doubt about one other sentence of the Express report, which claimed: "For the third month running, sellers have raised the price they are asking for their home."

The commentary in the original report, and indeed the graph above suggest that last month's rise "reversed a three month decline".


The headline and opening line of the Express report is clearly inaccurate. However this seems to have arisen from a simple misunderstanding of what figures have been reported by the house price survey.

We will therefore be contacting the Express to request a correction to the headline and the inaccuracies contained in the report, as part of our ongoing monitoring of Northern and Shell publications since they withdrew from the Press Complaints Commission.

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