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Govt is behind on time but ahead on price with index

The Government has launched a new house price index in a bid to end confusion over the state of the housing market but a month behind other surveys.

The index is based on data from around 50 mortgage lenders and reflects house prices at completion in contrast with the Nationwide and Halifax indices which reflect approval prices.

The new index says the average house price in July was £156,273, up from £153,605 in June and £138,042 a year ago. This is much higher than Halifax&#39s July index which gives the average house price as £132,079, up from £130,386 in June and £111,731 a year ago.

Hometrack economist John Wriglesworth says: “This is a classic Government initiative – their intentions are good but the logic is flawed. The information is just too old by the time it comes out. It adds nothing to what is already there.”

A spokesman for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister says: “It takes time to receive and process the data from as many as 50 different lenders. Once the new index has been established, we will investigate the possibility of making some reductions to the time lag.”

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