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Single House Price Index ‘should be introduced’

A single official house price index should be introduced to meet the needs of users, a review by the National Statistician has found.

The review, commissioned by Jil Matheson, has been carried out following user concerns about the coverage, clarity and comparability of official housing statistics.

The key recommendation, drawing on the consultation carried out in summer 2010, is that there should be one headline official house price index which meets key user needs.

This should be accompanied by a regular official statistics report, presenting and analysing the official house price measures and their relationship to non-official sources and wider housing market indicators.

The producers of the two current sources of official house price statistics, the Department for Communities and Local Government and Land Registry, have been asked to investigate ways of producing a definitive set of official house price statistics in future.

They have also been asked to work together on the feasibility of producing a joint statistical report containing the headline house price index and other house price indicators.

National Statistician, Jil Matheson, says: “There is a great deal of interest in and importance placed on changes in the value of our houses by all sections of society. I want to be sure that official statistics producers are providing the right statistics on house prices to support decision making by us all.

“I am grateful to the current official producers of house price statistics for their support in carrying out this review and their willingness to ensure official statistics on house prices meet the needs of the users of the statistics as closely as possible. I would also like to thank all the users of house price statistics who contributed to helping me better understand their requirements from official house price statistics.”

During the review, the National Statistician gathered views from a wide range of users including central and local government, financial institutions, housing market analysts, business users and academics.

The National Statistician is also the chief executive of the UK Statistics Authority board and is principal adviser on the quality of official statistics, good practice in relation to official statistics, and the comprehensiveness of official statistics.

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