Daily Express 'EU boost to house prices' front page 'seriously inaccurate' says IPSO

The Daily Express was today forced to flag up an IPSO adjudication on its front page after an inaccurate splash headline which stated: “EU Exit Boosts Houses Prices.”

The report was published on 22 July 2016, a month after the EU referendum, and it stated “house prices rose by more than 10 per cent last month as Britain voted to leave the EU”.

It stated that figures released by property analysts Hometrack showed that property prices across major cities had risen by 10.2 per cent year-on-year, and the increase was “stronger than the 6.9 per cent year-on-year price rises seen in June 2015”.

Complainant Paul Haigh said that the Hometrack figures did not reflect the period following the referendum but related to the period leading up to it so the story was inaccurate.

He noted that house prices had risen at the same rate in May and June 2016 and said this showed that the Brexit vote actually had no effect on house prices.

The Express accepted an error had been made in the first line of the print article, which stated that house prices had risen by 10 per cent in the “last month”; in fact, the 10 per cent rise related to city homes only and had been an annual rise.

IPSO said: “The Committee did not accept the newspaper’s suggestion that the front-page headline had not referred to the effect of the referendum result on house prices.

“In any event, any ambiguity in the headline was resolved by the first line of the print article, which had, inaccurately, supported the claim with the assertion that house prices had risen by 10 per cent in the ‘last month’. Consequently, the article had given the clear impression that house prices had risen considerably as a result of the vote to leave the EU.

“Save for the last seven days of June 2016, all the house price data referred to in both the print and online articles related to the period leading up to the referendum, and the newspaper had failed to provide any further evidence to support the assertion that house prices had increased as a result of the vote to leave the EU, beyond the significantly inaccurate claim that there had been a 10 per cent rise, post-referendum, in the print article.”

The Express was ordered to publish the critical adjudication page five, flagging it up on the front page.

Adjudication in full

Following the publication of an article in The Daily Express on 22 July 2016, headlined “EU Exit Boosts House Prices”, Paul Haigh complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Express breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The complaint was upheld, and IPSO required the newspaper to publish this adjudication. In addition, as the inaccurate information appeared in the front-page headline, IPSO also required the newspaper to publish a front-page reference to this adjudication.

The front page of the print article reported that “house prices rose by more than 10 per cent last month as Britain voted to leave the EU”. The online article, which was headlined “EU exit boosts house prices: Owners across whole country see big rises after Referendum”, did not state that house prices had risen by 10 per cent “last month”.

The complainant said that the newspaper had inaccurately reported that the vote to leave the European Union had “boosted” house prices. He said that the house price figures relied on by the newspaper did not reflect the period following the referendum but related to the period leading up to it.

The newspaper said that the article had reported that house prices had risen “as” Britain voted to leave the European Union, not as a result of the vote to leave. It accepted, however, that it had inaccurately stated in print that house prices had risen by 10 per cent in the “last month”; in fact, this had been an annual rise. The newspaper argued that the headline was not based on this inaccurate assertion, and should therefore be considered in relation to the corrected text, as well as the rest of the article, which had correctly reported the statistics for the year June 2015 to June 2016.

The Committee considered that both versions of the article had given the clear impression that house prices had risen considerably as a result of the vote to leave the EU. Save for the last seven days of June 2016, all the house price data referred to in the article related to the period leading up to the referendum, and the newspaper had failed to provide any further evidence to support the headline assertion, beyond the significantly inaccurate claim that there had been a 10% rise, post-referendum, in the print article. The newspaper had published seriously inaccurate information; this represented a failure to take care over the accuracy of the article. The complaint under Clause 1 was upheld.

Date complaint received: 18 October 2016
Date complaint concluded: 4 January 2017

Comments

3 thoughts on “Daily Express 'EU boost to house prices' front page 'seriously inaccurate' says IPSO”

  1. How much longer will the Express be allowed to get away with that misleading information about its cover price: NOW 10p (less than the Mail in tiny print).

    Even more mislreading when it has previously screamed NOW 40p (less…….

  2. How long can this rag stay in business? Its obsession with inaccuracy, dodgy weather forecasts, even dodgier Princess Di stories …. you even expect a spin on the previous nights footie results, but Jose got there first with those.

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