Valuations between estate agents can vary wildly, but a raft of high-tech websites now give you access to the kind of detailed house price data that was once the preserve of agents and mortgage lenders. It’s possible not only have a nose at what neighbours have got for their houses, but look at future predictions and even get a free online house price valuation.
- Check how much houses in any street sold for
While some websites try and charge for this information, you can get it speedily and for free from Nethouseprices or Houseprices. Simply enter a postcode or street and they list which properties sold and for what, plus allow you to narrow the search by house age and style. The sites take their data from the Land Registry and the Registers of Scotland.
To take it a step further, Houseprices also plots houses and prices on a Google map. Just click on one of the pins and it’ll show all the info and sale price for that particular house.
- Get an instant online 'valuation'
There are a couple of sites offering free online tools that will value your house. Yet it's important you take these with a pint pot, not a pinch, of salt. Any slight variation from the norm and they're way off, so only use these as a guide and a bit of fun rather than a fully reliable source.
The first to try is Zoopla.co.uk. Type in a postcode and it will give you a rough indication of sales prices for that area. You can then select a home in that street and answer questions to get a bespoke online valuation based on previous sale prices and market climate; you will have to login to do this though. Alternatively, there's Propertypriceadvice: it's slightly quicker and easier to work through, though asks less questions. It also requires your e-mail address to get its full valuation.
There are also paid for reports out there from Mouseprice and Hometrack for around twenty pounds. As the accuracy of online valuations is still highly questionable, if you want one, stick with the free ones.
- Property Price Trends
For some serious data on price trends, the Land Registry’s House Price Index gives average house prices by country and region, breaking them down into different property types. Stats geeks will enjoy Lloyds' housing research, which features its official house price index, a regional house price map and average prices by postcode, closely followed by Nationwide's similar research.
- Property Price Predictions
No one can tell you what's going to happen to house prices, though many will try. I remember doing an ITV News debate with a senior estate agent, and a City economist. The first predicted strong house price growth, the other a 30% crash. I said "anyone who tells you what will happen to house prices is talking nonsense; no one knows". To which they both said "rubbish!"
Property is an asset just like any other, and just as no one can always call the stock market right, the same's true of property. Yet if you're looking to see what the pundits predict, a useful place to do that is Housepricecrash. It's an website with a pro-property price crash agenda. Yet don’t be put off by this: it also collects statistics from places like the Land Registry, the Financial Times and Hometrack to track house price trends. Plus it tracks house price predictions from different experts to give an idea of what the future might hold.
- Find properties that have dropped their asking prices
A clever little website, Propertysnake, shows which properties in an area have recently dropped their asking prices, and by how much. Type in a postcode to see who’s having trouble offloading their house and what percentage they’ve trimmed the price by - a useful bargaining chip in purchase negotiations.
- COMPILED BY MONEYSAVING EXPERT