It appears house prices are again weathering the economic storm – well that is according to the Nationwide.  Their property index rose 0.4% in November making the average property worth £165,718.  However, in a separate survey of the UK housing market, the October data from the Land Registry shows prices were down, their figures making the average property worth £159,999.  

Why are the figures different?  The Nationwide index and for that matter the Halifax index as well are based on data from mortgage valuations at the point they are approved by the bank or building society.  The Land Registry bases its index on all completed sales and so there is a lag between the mortgage being approved and the sale being completed which accounts for the discrepancies between the two indicies.

I am a firm believer that whilst it is important not to disregard these figures on a month by month basis the important monthly statistics relate to market activity, after all this is what governs the price change; up or down.  I was pleased to read therefore that the number of mortgages approved for house purchase has risen to its highest level for nearly two years.  The Bank of England has reported there were 52,743 approvals in October, up from 51,193 the previous month and the highest monthly total since December 2009. 

Thoughts for most are now focusing on Christmas and the challenges of a new year.  Interesting times lie ahead in 2012 but it is pleasing to finish 2011 on a more positive note than we might otherwise have thought.