Percentage Change in Average House Prices in Five Cities

The chart below shows information about changes in average house prices in five different cities between 1990 and 2002 compared with the average house prices in 1989.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

This essay question is from Cambridge IELTS 7 Test 3 Writing Task 1.

Percentage change in average house prices in five cities 1990–2002 compared with 1989

percentage change in average house prices in five cities

Sample Essay

The bar graph shows average house prices in five cities between 1990 and 2002 as compared to the average prices in 1989.​

Overall, only Madrid’s and Frankfurt’s home prices increased between 1990 and 1995 over the 1989 price levels. However, between 1996 and 2002, all the cities saw price gains over the 1989 prices, except Tokyo, and increases were strongest (“Strongest” is correct. “The” is unnecessary.) in London.

Average home values in Madrid and Frankfurt were approximately 2% and 3% higher between 1990 and 1995 than in 1989. In comparison, house prices in the other three cities all dropped below the 1989 levels, by 5% in New York City, and roughly 7% in both Tokyo and London.

However, between 1996 and 2002, only Tokyo had a lower average house price than it had in 1989, with a drop of 5%. London showed the greatest price growth over the 1989 level, at about 12%, whereas Frankfurt showed the smallest, at about 2%. Home values in New York City and Madrid went up by around 5% and 4% respectively.

172 Words

Respectively

You don’t necessarily need to use the word “respectively” when there is more than one figure in your sentence. In the sentence below, it’s pretty clear what each number refers to.
  • Don’t use “respectively”: Average home values in Madrid and Frankfurt were 2% and 3% higher between 1990 and 1995 than in 1989.
If you use “respectively”, you need to put it either before or after “2% and 3 higher”. Don’t put it after “2% and 3%”.
  • Average home values in Madrid and Frankfurt were 2% and 3%, respectively, higher between 1990 and 1995 than in 1989.
  • Average home values in Madrid and Frankfurt were, respectively, 2% and 3% higher between 1990 and 1995 than in 1989.
  • Average home values in Madrid and Frankfurt were 2% and 3% higher, respectively, between 1990 and 1995 than in 1989.

The Strongest

“The” is not needed when we compare something with itself in different circumstances. Here, we’re comparing price increases with price increases.
  • However, between 1996 and 2002, all the cities saw price gains over the 1989 prices, except Tokyo, and increases were the strongest in London.
  • However, between 1996 and 2002, all the cities saw price gains over the 1989 prices, except Tokyo, and increases were strongest in London.
Below is a quote from The Independent. They are comparing the same thing: under-employment. They’re comparing under-employment with under-employment. That’s why “the” is not needed.

At 12%

The prepositional phrase “at 12%” is not modifying “growth”, where “of” would undoubtedly be correct, but “the largest growth”. It makes no sense to speak of “the largest growth of 12%” since any growth of 12% is presumable as large as any other growth of 12%.
  • London showed the largest price growth over the 1989 level, of about 12%.
  • ndon showed the largest price growth over the 1989 level, at about 12%.

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