News: Government Forced To Withdraw Housing Data

Thu, 21 Aug 08

The Government has been forced to delay publishing official housing market statistics because the figures may be wrong.

The statistics, relating to property transactions on sales worth more than £40,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, are published each month by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

However after finding “significant and unexplained differences” with statistics published in July HMRC has postponed publication for a month.

The figures will now be revealed in the next scheduled update on 21 September.

In a statement HMRC said: “We regret that we have had to postpone publication of this update and have withdrawn the statistics published previously in July 2008.

“Outputs obtained whilst updating the monthly series contained some significant and unexplained differences with the statistics published last month.

“All months in the statistical series are affected, with the differences showing falls in some months and increases in others.

“We are working to understand the reason for these differences so that a reliable set of statistics can be produced.”

The last figures released by HMRC in June revealed a 45% drop in sales compared to the same month the previous year. The figures show just 77,000 properties were sold, compared to 140,000 in June 2007.

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