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Consumer Prices Index
SIR – How inconsistent of the Government to use the Consumer Prices Index to fix pay increases and pensions, but the faster-moving Retail Prices Index to fix rail fares.
John
Lincoln, 18 August 2011, Telegraph Letters Page.
This assignment analyses some features of the current and historical data for housing prices, uses data from the ONS website, and evaluates the above letter by comparing and contrasting the RPI and the CPI as two major UK price indices.
SECTION A House prices from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website
Access the ONS website for the House Price Index, January 2013, at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_303263.pdf
A1 Construct in Excel a time-series graph of the UK all dwellings index values from January 2008 to the latest month.
A2 Data for Average house prices in January 2013 in the UK, countries and regions (Figure 5) can be downloaded in Excel format.
Produce a barchart to compare only the 4 countries in the UK, the overall UK value and London. These results must be sorted from smallest to largest value; Excel’s Data/Sort facility might be useful, including the Options facility to sort the rows of data.
Comment on your findings from both graphs.
 
Section B Land Registry House Price Index data
The Land Registry website gives sale prices of properties in England and Wales. Use the link from the ONS website to access this website.
In the Media section, locate the Press Release for the February Market Trend Data.
http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/media/all-releases/press-releases/2013/market-trend-data-february-2013
B1 Construct a table of average prices and percentage differences (to 3 decimal places) for the 4 property types (Detached, Semi, Terraced, Flat/Maisonette) between February 2012 and February 2013.
Hence, graphically illustrate the percentage differences in prices between the two months for these 4 property types.
Comment on your findings.
B2 Produce a table showing monthly sales in 2012 and 2011 and the monthly difference (to 2 decimal places).
B3 Develop a time-series graph to compare the monthly sales for 2012 and 2011.
Fit linear regression equations to both years and explain your findings.
Section C Consumer and Retail Price Inflation (CPI, RPI)
From the ONS website http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons, go to the Publications section and find the Consumer Price Inflation Statistical Bulletin, March 2013. Download the pdf (dated 16 April 2013).
The pdf’s Table A shows the 1 month and 12 month changes in the CPI. Here you can download the Excel file and, for March 2012 to March 2013, see the 1 month and 12 month rates. You should examine this section to familiarise yourself with the type of outputs available.
However, you are going to test John’s assertion in his letter to the Telegraph about the slower moving RPI…..
On page 20 of the pdf (Section 2) you will find data for 4 indices for the latest 3 years back to March 2010.
C1 Using the columns of data for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and for the Retail prices Index (RPI) NOT NATIONAL STATISTICS you must compare by correlation and regression the rate of growth of the ‘Percentage change over 12 months’ for the CPI versus the RPI. Your timescale is from January 2012 to March 2013 (15 months of data to include March 2013).
The required outputs are :
• a table of the data you used.
• a scatter graph of the RPI (Dependent variable) against the CPI (Independent variable).
• the trendline and the R-squared value to be shown on the graph.
C2 Give a full interpretation of your conclusion about John’s statement in the letter about the rate of growth of the RPI.
Indicative breakdown of marks
 
Presentation and communication
 
Report style/general presentation and quality of communication
• Pay attention to page numbers, diagrams, histograms, tables etc. which must be correctly coded in academic format e.g. “Table 3″, “Figure 5”. They must be cross-referenced in the main part of the report.
• The use of an ‘Introduction’ to the work is encouraged.
• Sub-headings within each section are essential. Try to para-phrase sub-headings from the questions, do NOT merely repeat the text of the question.
• You will be penalised if you have made little attempt to check spelling, punctuation and grammar. There is no excuse for incorrect spelling when you have a word-processor.
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