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Guildford retains its grip on reality

One of the virtues of my job is the ability to dip into a huge pool of data on property price movements and related trends.

While mainstream media headlines warning of property crashes or recoveries make entertaining reading, our lender and institutional clients are more interested in granular data that allows them to make decisions on a postcode basis.

This feeds back into product design, growth models and projected risk.

One of the more interesting market variables is the difference between the expected valuation estimated at the time of a lending application and the figure arrived at by a qualified valuer.

Big differences between the two can be an indicator of a market in freefall, where applicant sentiment has yet to catch up with reality.

Alternatively, they can suggest a strong local element of hope.

On the other hand, small differences are indicative of a more stable market. And when compared across a geographical region the data can show a correlation to the performance of a market historically.

But enough of the science – in England and Wales, CH, L and E postcodes showed the most overestimates in Q4 2009. For Northern Ireland, BT 13-15 had an even more severe issue and for Scotland, DG 3-9 looks challenging.

I can also reveal the area with the closest correlation and healthiest market by this measure – congratulations Guildford.

RICHARD SEXTON, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, E.SURV

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