We made an offer on a house for sale near the end of last year but the sellers said it was not enough and it wasn’t accepted.
The house then went under offer in January and we have been trying to find out if it sold and how much for, but when I look at Rightmove’s sold prices section and at other websites such as Zoopla there is nothing showing up.
I thought maybe that meant that it never got sold, however, I also noticed that there seems to be no data on Rightmove or any others for any properties sold after the middle of March.
Has the Land Registry stopped providing sold prices data since lockdown started? Will it provide this data again soon and could we expect a flood of information on sold prices through at some point?
Since March lockdown staffing issues at the Land Registry mean the data is incomplete
This is Money’s Will Kirkman replies: You’re right to suspect there’s something odd going on with HM Land Registry data at the moment.
While there are several house price indices out there, the most comprehensive comes from the Office for National Statistics which usually publishes every month using data from the Land Registry.
This index covers all transactions – roughly 100,000 a month pre-lockdown – and records data on completed registrations, making it the most accurate – albeit lagging rival indices when it comes out.
However, since March these data sets haven’t been published by the ONS due to lockdown-related staffing issues at the Land Registry.
While the Registry is currently trickling out data, there is far from a complete picture yet as to what average sold prices were in these missing months.
And there is also a gap when it comes to specific properties, such as the potentially the one you tried to buy.
Just because there is no record of it being sold, doesn’t meant that the sale never went through, instead it may be caught up in the data that hasn’t been released yet.
It also means there’s a good chance the price sold for the specific home you’re looking at isn’t available yet.
A spokesman for the Land Registry said: ‘We are still publishing price paid data, but the data contained is not as representative as it usually would be.
‘The reason for this is when the country went in lockdown we had to focus on our core service of Land Registration and the capturing of the house price is not part of this process.
‘However, this has since resumed and each month we’re publishing more and more data and we’re hoping that we’ll have caught up in the next couple of releases.’
You mentioned that Rightmove and Zoopla sold prices weren’t available when you looked.
It’s worth checking again, as both these websites now have data sets available.
However both these websites use Land Registry data, meaning the specific property you’re after might not be available. It also means that average house price data won’t be as accurate as it was before lockdown.
What other options do you have?
There are various other indices out there that track house prices in your area. They won’t be able to tell you what a specific home sold for, but can give a general overview for prices in the area.
And while none is as comprehensive as the ONS, each is worth looking at.
Both of these data sets are based on far fewer transactions than the ONS’s – around 15,000 a month – and as they are based on their own mortgage lending, exclude cash purchases, making them less comprehensive.
There are various other indices out there that track house prices that are each worth looking at
They are, however, more up-to-date. Every three months, Nationwide puts out more detailed regional house price reports.
Both of these indices have continued to publish while the coronavirus lockdown has been in place.
There’s also LSL Acadata, which is based on Land Registry data, but uses its own internal models to give more up to date predictions and forecasts.
However, as this is based on incomplete data, like Zoopla and Rightmove it is also not as accurate as usual.
For example, while in January the LSL Acadata index was based on 53,444 transactions, the June index was based on just 662.
As such, at the moment it’s not a safe bet to say that prices in this index are representative of the market as a whole, and especially not on a more granular, local basis.
Finally, there’s the Rightmove index, which publishes a monthly index based on the tens of thousands of property listings it hosts each month.
Although up to date and based on a large data set, this index is primarily based on asking prices newly-advertised on the company’s website – rather than the actual sale price the homes go for.
As the two are often quite different, it’s not the most accurate tool if you want to see what homes in your area are actually selling for, but it’s a good measure of confidence in the market.