Chris Deering's analysis of Land Registry figures suggests Chiswick property prices rose by only 2.3% over the last year. He says don't be panicked into buying

It seems to be nearly every day that the press is carrying a story about our amazing soaraway property market and how prices just never seem to stop rising. Even seems to have got in on the act by regularly reporting on the latest micro-statistics for the local area.

All the coverage is agreed that both nationally, London-wide and in Chiswick prices are soaring ahead. In fact when you look closely at the numbers they are hardly rising at all in W4.

I've always been a bit sceptical of these numbers and certainly they don't reflect my own experience having had my house regularly valued. All this data and the often sensationalist press coverage should be taken with a large pinch of salt. The source of the numbers are usually estate agencies or building societies both with a major vested interest in making us believe that property prices only go up.

"prices in Chiswick have risen by only 2.3% over the last year barely above the rate of inflation"

The only really reliable figures on the residential property market are those from the Land Registry. Most property transactions are recorded here and the data reflects the actual price at which a property changes hands. The Land Registry has no vested interest in rising property prices.

The latest data from the Land Registry has just been released. They do show a 13.1% increase in prices across London but on the land registry website you can get detailed numbers for individual areas. These show a very different picture for this area. In fact prices in Chiswick have risen by only 2.3% over the last year barely above the rate of inflation.

In the three months to June 2002, 317 Chiswick properties changed hands at an average price of £351,860. In the same period a year earlier the average price was £344,033, a rise of just 2.3%, way below the double digit rises every other source seems to suggest we are getting. Prices did dip following the September 11th atrocities but not by much and the subsequent rise has got them barely above the levels they had previously.

One thing that the numbers do show is that the top end of the market has all but frozen. There have been very few transactions in Chiswick that have involved a property changing hands at over £1mn over the last year. If you allow for this by looking at the price changes just for terraced houses then it shows that prices are up by only 3.8%

If you are thinking of buying property in Chiswick then the clear message is don't be panicked by all this press coverage. Rental rates are falling and there is massive amounts of new property to come on stream locally - particularly in the old Queen Charlottes development. This all suggests that at some point in the future prices could fall. At the moment they are being sustained by historically low interest rates which could last for ever but then again they might not. Low interest rates didn't do much to help the stock market recently.

Chris Deering

Chris Deering works as a City based financial analyst and is a member of this site. The views expressed are his own. He can be contacted on We welcome contributed articles from our members on all subjects of local interest.

August 8, 2002

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