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Halifax expresses concern over media use of its figures

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Lee Jones
Halifax has expressed its concern over national media coverage of its House Price Index figures.

Yesterday, the Halifax House Price Index revealed that house prices had fallen by 10.9 per cent since August 2007. This figure is created by taking a three-month average of prices and then comparing that to the similar average the previous year.

But several news networks, including The Times, Sky News, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian today chose to instead calculate the percentage change in the individual figures, creating an annual house price dip of 12.7 per cent.

In August 2007 Halifax reported the average house price to be £199,612, a drop of £25,434 in a year as this month’s average house price sat at £174,178. This is a drop of 12.7 per cent.

Halifax says it takes a three month average to avoid amplifying figures. It says by just comparing single averages it can lead to an erratic series of figures. It says its method gives a better picture of underlying trends.

A spokesman for Halifax says: “If journalists get our numbers incorrect we always call the publication and tell them that it is wrong.

“The official House Price Index annual house price change is 10.9 per cent. That was the official statistic we released and the statistic we posted on the London Stock exchange.

“Some of the media has used the single figures to create the 12.7 per cent which amplifies the findings. When we have calculated house price rises in the past this can also happen.”

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