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Housing market activity has weakened sharply over the last two months. Indeed, figures this week likely will reveal that mortgage approvals plunged in April and that house price growth slowed in May. The increase in stamp duty for buy-to-let purchases at the start of April and Brexit risk, however, entirely explain the slowdown.
December's money and credit figures suggest that households are in no fit state to step up and drive the economy forwards this year.
The MPC's interest rate cut in August, and the continued willingness of banks to lend, bolstered the housing market immediately after the referendum. But the latest indicators suggest that the market is slowing again, as the financial pressures on households' incomes intensify.
Markets expect the MPC to shelve November's guidance--that interest rates need to rise only twice in the next three years--at today's meeting.
Britain's housing market appears to be going from bad to worse.
The mortgage market still is defying gravity. U.K. Finance initially reported yesterday that house purchase mortgage approvals by the main high street banks collapsed to 35.3K in February, from 39.6K in January.
House purchase mortgage approvals by the main street banks jumped to 40.1K in January, from 36.1K in December, fully reversing the 4K fall of the previous two months, according to trade body U.K. Finance.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the RPI is a terrible measure of inflation. The ONS describes it as "very poor" and discourages its use.
House prices are on course to rise only by around 2% this year, the smallest increase for five years.
December's retail sales figures, released today, likely will show that the surge in spending in November was driven merely by people undertaking Christmas shopping earlier than in past years, due to Black Friday.
The Chancellor was bolder than widely expected yesterday and scaled back the fiscal consolidation planned for the next two years significantly, even though his borrowing forecast was boosted by the OBR's gloomier prognosis for the economy.
Halifax's house price index rose by an eye catching 1.5% month-to-month in March, superficially suggesting that the housing market is reviving.
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