For many of us, a home is the largest purchase we will make during our lifetimes. During 2015, UK residents conducted nearly £114 billion of private residential property sales. Since 2014 Land Registry has published statistics and record data on the housing market in England and Wales as open linked data. Land Registry’s aim is to make the data more accessible to the public, companies, institutions, and to potential app developers.
Client: Land Registry
Our Role: Modelling consultancy, data publishing, app development
To publish statistical and historical data on house price sales and make the data available via a suite of applications, as well as creating a pipeline for regularly publishing time critical data.
In England and Wales, Land Registry records the sale of residential and commercial properties. Registers of Scotland in Scotland and Land and Property Services in Northern Ireland have a similar role.
In 2013, Land Registry sought to extend their open data offerings. The aim was to make statistical and record data on some types of property transaction freely available. To help meet the government’s open data agenda, they sought to make it easier for new innovative services to be created using their data.
The priority is to remove obstacles and make it easier to get at the data. Access to the data is via online applications and data downloads. For developers access is available via an application programming interface (API).
The house price data is updated monthly. The data is an official statistic, and so has specific publication rules that must be followed. The data needs to be published quickly following the release of the official statistic and not be available before that point.
We worked with the Land Registry IT team to create a custom publication pipeline. This pushes data from an automated workflow from Land Registry to a staging area for before publication. The final step is for an authorised person to release the data, once embargo has passed.
In the first phase of the project, the two principal datasets were:
- the House Price Index (monthly statistics) and
- the Price Paid Data (historical data).
While they share elements of a common housing data ontology, these are very differently shaped datasets.
2016: the UK House Price Index
In 2016 the basis for calculating monthly house price statistics changed. The new monthly index is calculated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The new index includes data from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The responsibility for the online application remain with Land Registry. We supported Land Registry delivering the new data. This included working with the other registry authorities and ONS to extend the original House Price Index application.
Thanks to the flexibility of linked data, much of the existing data publishing pipeline remained intact. This helped to minimise the cost for Land Registry.
We worked with Land Registry’s customers and stakeholders to improve the user experience or the UK House Price Index tool.
We worked as embedded consultants within Land Registries agile project team, helping the business owners at Land Registry to shape the end-user requirements. We then designed and created two standalone web applications:
- the house price data explorer and
- the price paid data explorer
For the first time Land Registry is providing its public data in a machine-readable format, enabling transaction and price paid data to be linked to data from other sources. Making our data available in this way is part of Land Registry's commitment to deliver greater data transparency and contribute to economic growth.
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