Covid-19 update

HM Land Registry latest price data


HM Land Registry published the latest price data on 27th June 2020 which can now be viewed on The Move Market - this includes only 281 sales that completed in April 2020 and a meagre 41 sales that completed in May 2020.

The latest data set included 30,000 transactions - this is still substantially less than the figure we expected to see, which means we only have a small subset of the sold price data.

This is probably due to ongoing operational issues at HM Land Registry with so many employees being forced to work from home.

However, with this new data, we have still managed to update our valuations and property price indexes, some areas are showing moderate price increases and some areas moderate decreases.

It is important to realise that with a large part of sale data missing for March and April 2020, the negative impact of Coronavirus is yet to be seen within the numbers.

We expect a more realistic picture of sale prices post lockdown to start to show at the end of August 2020, and more likely the impact will start to really show in September and October's figures

Valuations


The impact of Coronavirus is widespread and is affecting not just the health and well being of people but businesses profitability, jobs and house prices.

The knock on effect of so many people being temporarily out of work isn't clear yet. One thing that is certain though is that people will have less money and lower job security over the next 12 months.

How negatively this affects the property market and prices that buyers are prepared to pay will start to appear shortly.

Generally, in economic slumps, house prices fall - this hasn't happened just yet though for a few reasons:

  • Property prices are typically published with a 2 month delay (i.e. say a person completes their sale and moves in January, the sale data will only be published by HM Land Registry in March).
  • At the end of June 2020, HM Land Registry published 30,000 sale transactions - we would have expected to see around 100,000 transactions so there is still some significant backlock in the sale prices being processed at HM Land Registry (70% of the sale data is possibly still to be released).
  • Some property that completed in April and May, will have exchanged earlier in the year before the real impact of Covid-19 was known and so won't fully reflect the change in prices because of the virus.
  • To keep property valuations on The Move Market representative of the real market, we have set a manual adjustment (-1.6%) to all property prices to factor in a moderate decrease in consumer confidence, jobs and salary expectations over the next year.
  • As soon as HM Land Registry update the official dataset, we will re-evaluate the need for the manual valuation adjustment and keep any manual adjustments published here.

HM Land Registry record the official sale price of all property transactions in the UK


HM Land Registry data is normally released with a lag of about 2 months, so a property sold in the middle of April would normally be published at the end of June.

At the moment they are still struggling to release data on time - so we are only seeing a small proportion of the property sales that have completed.

Since the UK was under lockdown during April, very few new property sales are likely to have been agreed.

What does all this mean?


Upon the next HM Land Registry data publication, we expect to see very low transaction volumes with more volatility in price indexes.

Be wary of other media sources citing price falls and valuations. They may be drawing conclusions based on such a small sample of data that they may not be statistically significant (i.e. they don't have enough data to make such a bold conclusion but they want to sell papers!)).

Check back here regularly as we will update our valuations as soon as HM Land Registry publish more data.

Making an offer


Given the current economic uncertainty, property prices are likely to be weaker for some time, with more downward pressure up until the end of the year.

This doesn't necessarily make it a bad time to buy though. As long as you do your research and put in a good offer, you could end up profiting nicely once the virus passes and normality returns.