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LibDems are hammered over house auction claim

The Liberal Democrats have been criticised over claims that auctions provide the best indicator of house prices.

The LibDems backed up last week’s claims by citing figures showing that the average price through house auctions in the second quarter of 2008 was down by 18.7 per cent year on year to £138,857 from £170,757.

The party’s Treasury spokesman Lord Matthew Oakeshott said: “Auctions are the real deal with real buyers who have to exchange contracts and pay their deposit when the hammer falls.”

But Essential Information Group, which follows 98 per cent of house auctions and originated the LibDem statistics, contests these claims. Managing director David Sanderman says: “The Liberal Democrats have not looked at the numbers pragmatically and have just given a sweeping appraisal.

“These numbers just prove that auction houses have been selling cheaper homes. There has been a rise in repossessed homes and they tend to be at the lower end of the market.

“Yes, there is a big drop in prices at auction but does that mean that my house has dropped by the same amount? No.”

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