April 15, 2011
We’re on a mission to separate the wheat from the chaff (or less politely, the plethora of meaningless statistics from the occasional nugget of useful information). Or at least to lend some balance to the often widely-reported headline grabbers that frequently make it into the press.
Property news sites and publications across the country have repeated the great news that, according to BTL lender Paragon, average UK void periods have dropped to 2.8 weeks (20 days) from 3.5 weeks (24.5 days) over the past year. A somewhat meaningless stat that masks huge regional, and agency, variations. For instance, our Young London lettings agency’s average void period is just 2 days at the moment (the minimum insisted upon to ensure properties are professionally cleaned and prepared for the new tenants).
Despite being proud of our 2 day figure, I generally think trends are more useful indicators than headline stats. It’s right that void periods are falling, and given the current high tenant demand and relatively constrained supply of rental property, they should be dropping. But is the precise amount of the national average drop really that informatve or merely indicative?
Elsewhere this month, Halifax and Nationwide once again couldn’t agree. Halifax maintains that annually, UK house prices fell by 2.9%, whilst Nationwide thinks they rose by 0.1%. The difference isn’t unexpected as both only measure a portion of the extremely low levels of transactions taking place – and measure valuations, not achieved market prices.
For more accurate Land Registry statistics for the month of March, we’ ll have to wait until 4 May.