The Brightstar Group believes there should be an “immediate and indefinite” suspension of all house price indices.
The distributor argues such a suspension should last until a meaningful number of property transactions are able to be processed, to guard against unnecessary panic and knee jerk policy decisions.
Rightmove recently suspended its house price report saying that, “given the lockdown and pausing of key activities in the housing market, statistics on the number of properties coming to market, new seller asking prices, and new sales agreed are not meaningful.”
Analysis by Savills has also said that “in the coming months, low market activity is likely to make it relatively difficult to establish what has happened to prices, meaning this is only likely to become clear as we come out of the lockdown and transaction levels start to pick up.”
It is unlikely that the Office for National Statistics would not publish official data. When it revealed February’s house price data this week, it said the UK House Price Index will continue to be released on a monthly basis and that it would review the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the amount of transactions available.
It added: “The index will continue to reflect the property market, although we are anticipating lower volumes in transactions starting from next month’s release following the implementation of the measures taken by the government.”
Rob Jupp, CEO at The Brightstar Group, said: “It is crucial that all house price indices are paused with immediate effect and continue to be suspended until the housing market is able to produce any meaningful data.
“We find ourselves in a completely unprecedented situation where the government has, with good reason and quite rightly, deliberately paused nearly all economic activity, and this has imposed an artificial halt on the housing market.
“With this as the backdrop, it seems mad to continue to measure the health of the market using traditional methods. The data simply isn’t there to provide any type of meaningful house price index at the moment.
“To continue to produce house price indices in this situation is very dangerous. It will lead to sensationalist headlines and create panic, which could impede the return of the market when the lockdown is lifted. It may also result in knee jerk policy decisions, which could have a lasting and negative impact on the market.”