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Growth in households' disposable incomes has been supported in recent years by falling debt servicing costs. The proportion of households' incomes absorbed by interest payments fell to a record low of 4.5% in Q4 last year, down from 4.7% a year ago and a peak of 10% in 2008.
Expectations that the MPC will raise Bank Rate again soon have taken a big knock over the last two weeks.
Equity prices for companies dependent on the U.K.'s residential property market tumbled yesterday as several companies reported poor results for the first half of 2017. Most companies blamed a decline in housing transactions for falling profits.
October's money data show that households and firms have regained the appetite for borrowing that they lost immediately after the referendum. But the recent rise in swap rates and the deterioration in consumers' confidence likely will cut short the revival in consumer lending, while persistent Brexit uncertainty likely will continue to subdue firms' investment intentions.
The process of refinancing existing mortgages at ever-lower interest rates has been a boon for the economy in recent years.
The housing market perhaps is where the adverse impact of Brexit uncertainty can be seen most clearly.
Mortgage approvals by the main high street banks collapsed to 36.1K in December--the lowest level since April 2013--from 39.0K in November, according to trade body U.K. Finance.
Mortgage approvals by the main high street banks dropped to a five-month low of 38.5K in September, from 39.2K in August, according to trade body U.K.Finance.
House prices are on course to rise only by around 2% this year, the smallest increase for five years.
We are fairly sanguine that government bond markets in the Eurozone will take the end of QE in their stride.
The MPC likely will raise interest rates today, but as we explained here, it probably will revise down its medium-term inflation forecast, signalling that it is content with the further 35bp tightening currently priced-in by markets for 2018.
The imminent boost to lending rates from the shut- down of the Term Funding Scheme at the end of this month is widely under-appreciated.
Speculation that the U.K. will end up leaving the E.U. in March without a deal has dominated the headlines over the last month. Politicians on both sides of the Channel have warned that the probability of a no-deal Brexit is at least as high as 50%, even though more than 80% of the withdrawal deal already has been agreed.
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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