Good or bad? You decide

Here’s another example of the media interpreting the same news in different ways. This morning the BBC and the Financial Times both reported the latest change in house prices as determined by the Halifax Building Society. The difference was that the BBC focussed on the direction of the trend (no news there really, prices are still going up), while the FT reported the change in the strength of the trend (not as strong as in recent months).

The BBC headline was Housing market stays strong and the article lead with:

The housing market remained strong during January with prices increasing by 1.5%, new figures suggest.
The UK’s biggest mortgage lender, Halifax, said low interest rates and low unemployment were continuing to drive the market.

The increase pushed the average cost of a property up to £123,451.

Prices for the three months to the end of January are now 24.9% higher than they were during the same period the previous year, the survey suggests.

While the Financial Times reported UK house price growth slows in January:

The pace of house price growth slowed last month, in line with predictions that the overheated residential property market will start to cool this year, according to Halifax.

Britain’s largest lender on Wednesday said that prices rose 1.5 per cent last month over December, taking the growth rate over the three months to January to 24.9 per cent compared with the previous year.

Last month Halifax had to adjust its figures which meant the index fell 2.1 per cent from November, to stand 26.4 per cent higher on an annual basis. Without the technical adjustments, the index would have risen 1 per cent in December over November.

So is the trend in house prices good or bad, or is the change in the trend significant? The media can’t make up its mind, so it’s up to you.