All posts by Christine Rouse

Gross mortgage lending for October stands at 25.5bn

 

According to the latest Household Finance Update from UK Finance, gross mortgage lending for October 2018 was £25.5bn. This is 5.6% higher than a year earlier.

 

  • Approvals for house purchases were 3.6% higher, although the number of mortgage approvals was 4.1% lower than last October.

 

  • The Bank of England reported that the figure for mortgages approved for house purchase was 67,000 in the month of October, which is the highest figure since the start of the year.

 

  • Remortgage approvals were 13.5% lower, while approvals for other secured borrowing were also lower by 1.3%.

 

  • The figure for remortgage approvals stood at 49,000 for October.

 

Mortgage Approvals (Seasonally Adjusted)

 

Commenting on the data, Eric Leenders, Managing Director, Personal Finance at UK Finance, said:

“Overall mortgage lending grew in October, despite an uncertain economic environment, while house purchase mortgage approvals by the main high street banks were also up on the previous year”

 

Henry Knight, Managing Director of Springtide Capital commented:

“The market remained broadly stable in October and in the very near term we expect market trends to continue until the economic outlook becomes clearer and while the market continues to adjust to the implications around Brexit.’

 

October Buyer Statistics

 

  • The average first-time buyer is 30 and has a gross household income of £42,000.

 

  • The average home mover is 39 and has a gross household income of £56,000.

 

 

Mortgage arrears remain at historic low in Q3 2018

 

UK Finance’s Mortgage Arrears and Possessions Update for the third quarter of 2018 reveals that significantly fewer properties were taken into possession in the last quarter:

 

  • 1,080 homeowner mortgaged properties were taken into possession in the third quarter of 2018, 19 per cent fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year.

 

  • 500 buy-to-let mortgaged properties were taken into possession in the third quarter of 2018, 17 per cent fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year.

 

  • There were 77,600 homeowner mortgages in arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance in the third quarter of 2018, 5 per cent fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year.

 

  • There were 4,660 buy-to-let mortgages in arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance in the third quarter of 2018, 1 per cent fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year.

 

 

THE ECONOMY

The Office of National Statistics reported that the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.2% in October 2018, unchanged from September 2018.

 

 

Sources:

 

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/household-finance-update-october-2018/

 

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/consumerpriceinflation/octob

er2018

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/mortgage-market-softens-following-period-of-strong-growth/

 

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/money-and-credit/2018/october-2018

 

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/mortgage-arrears-remain-at-historic-lows-in-q3-2018/

 

 

Later Life Lending

 

Older borrowers are discriminated against by many lenders, but the tide is turning slowly.

The financial services industry is playing an increasingly central, and essential, role in retirement security. Growing numbers of older people face ongoing decisions about how to manage their income and assets over a longer period than previous generations, this presents both opportunity, and challenge, for the later life lending sector.

There is an ever-increasing demand for a broad range of retirement borrowing products. With the average life expectancy having risen considerably and mortgage lending requirements extending well into borrowers’ 60s and 70s, borrowers needing a mortgage into retirement are often routinely turned down by mortgage lenders on the basis of their age alone. This approach means over 50s needing to remortgage can find it difficult to secure a home loan.

There are many reasons why individuals may need to borrow later in life, from home improvements to helping children get on the property ladder.

As stated in the publication Mortgage Strategy:

‘With changing trends in home buying seeing people going through the home buying cycle later in life than a few decades ago, the retirement lending market is embarking on a period of unprecedented growth’

In a survey of intermediaries by Marsden Building Society, receiving a ‘personal approach’ from all sides was of key importance to clients.

Intermediaries were ‘adamant’ there was a need for a more personal approach to underwriting when looking at older borrowers, and it’s not always straightforward placing a later life lending case because criteria could change significantly from lender to lender.

Using a broker can be a great way of finding a lender who will consider your application – a broker will know which lenders are happy to lend to certain demographic groups.

It’s important to seek independent legal advice before taking an equity release or home reversion product in order to understand the impact any plan will have on inheritance tax planning.

Jim Boyd, chief executive of the Equity Release Council, agreed that “advice is everything”

Henry Knight, Managing Director at Springtide Capital comments:

“In an ageing population, we recognise the importance of providing specialised advice for those looking for a mortgage later in life. Later Life Lending can help a variety of client needs such as: repaying debts and mortgage, supplementing retirement income, home improvements or providing financial assistance to your family. We deliver solutions tailored to your personal situation and advise on Equity Release schemes such as Lifetime and Interest only mortgages”

To understand the features and risks of a Lifetime mortgage, speak to one of our qualified specialists about providing you with a personalised illustration.

To speak to us today, call Springtide Capital on 020 3040 4400 to book an appointment with a mortgage consultant. 

Sources:

https://www.yourmortgage.co.uk/remortgage/age-against-the-machine/

https://www.financialreporter.co.uk/later-life/fse-midlands-advisers-warned-over-retirement-interest-only-recommendations.html

https://www.mortgagefinancegazette.com/lending-news/equity-release/call-individual-approach-later-life-lending-25-09-2018/

https://www.mortgagefinancegazette.com/lending-news/whats-important-later-life-clients-05-09-2018/

https://www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk/borrowers-options-beyond-65th/

 

 

Gross Mortgage Lending for September 2018

Gross mortgage lending for September was £21.5bn

  

According to the latest Household Finance Update from UK Finance, gross mortgage lending for September 2018 was £21.5bn, 1.2 percent lower than September 2017, due to cautious buyers.

 

  • The number of mortgage approvals by the main high street banks in September was 9.1 percent lower than September 2017, and approvals for house purchases were 10.1 per cent lower.

 

  • Within the above figure, remortgage approvals were 7.4 percent lower than for the same period a year earlier.

 

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.2 percent in September 2018, down from 2.4  percent in August 2018.

 

Housing

 

 

The Autumn Budget Statement

The Government delivered it’s Autumn Budget and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond reaffirmed his commitment to the UK housing market with a series of announcements. We’ve covered these in more detail here and in summary:

  • A new Help to Buy scheme announced from April 2021
  • Stamp Duty relief extended to first-time buyers buying shared ownership properties
  • Affordable Homes Programme progresses
  • Further grant funding in London announced
  • Housing Revenue Account Cap is abolished

Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP stated:

“This Budget provides positive news for those struggling to get on the housing ladder with certainty given on the future of Help to Buy and freeing up councils to deliver a new generation of council housing.”

Henry Knight, Managing Director of Springtide Capital commented:

 

“The decline in gross mortgage lending reflects weaker consumer confidence with affordability, Brexit and uncertainty over interest rates leading to more cautious buyers. However, measures announced in the recent Budget should help to improve accessibility for first-time buyers, although we expect the subdued activity in London’s housing market is likely to remain as buyers defer making major financial commitments.”

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/household-finance-update-september-2018/

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/consumerpriceinflation/september2018

https://static.halifax.co.uk/assets/pdf/mortgages/pdf/October-2018-House-Price-Index.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/budget-to-support-new-housing-high-streets-and-local-services

 

Autumn Budget 2018

Housing highlights from the Autumn Budget 2018

The Government delivered it’s Autumn Budget and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, reaffirmed his commitment to the UK housing market with a series of announcements:

  • A new Help to Buy scheme from April 2021
  • Stamp Duty relief extended to first-time buyers buying shared ownership properties
  • Affordable Homes Programme progresses
  • Further grant funding in London announced
  • Housing Revenue Account Cap abolished

Help to Buy extended

The government was under significant pressure to revise the Help to Buy initiative and continue the scheme beyond its 2021 deadline. The Autumn budget delivered the following:

  • A revised scheme that is restricted to first-time buyers will be launched in April 2021.
  • It includes regional property price caps to ensure it is more targeted to people who need it most. Prices will be capped at 1.5 times the current forecasted average first-time buyer price in each region – with a maximum of £600,000 set in London.
  • The government says it has no plans to continue offering Help to Buy equity loans beyond March 2023.

Stamp Duty

  • The Budget extended relief to all first-time buyers of shared ownership properties worth up to £500,000.
  • This change is retrospective, meaning that first-time buyers who bought a shared ownership property with a price up to £500,000, since 22 November 2017, can claim a refund.
  • Phillip Hammond stated that the recent Stamp Duty changes have so far helped 121,500 buyers placing first-time buyers in a more positive position within the UK housing market.

Affordable Homes Funding Boost

  • Nine housing associations were allocated £653 million from the Affordable Homes Programme, to deliver over 13,000 additional affordable housing starts by March 2022.
  • £1 billion of new guarantees to support small and medium sized builders was implemented by the British Business Bank.

Grant Funding in London’s Docklands

  • Grant funding of £291 million for vital infrastructure on the Docklands Light Railway in East London has been announced.
  • The release of pressure on existing services in the area has the potential to unlock over 18,000 homes.

Non-resident stamp duty consultation

The government will publish a consultation in January 2019 on introducing a 1% stamp duty surcharge for non-residents buying a home in England and Northern Ireland.

Housing Revenue Account Cap is abolished

The Housing Revenue Account cap has been abolished in the Autumn Budget, allowing councils to increase house-building to around 10,000 homes a year. The Housing Revenue Account cap was considered the biggest obstacle to councils initiating the building of new homes.

Consultation of Planning Reforms

In the Autumn statement the government announced that they plan to build on existing planning reforms to make it easier to extend existing buildings upwards to create new homes and support the regeneration of high streets. A consultation on the proposed planning reform aims to simplify and speed up the planning system allowing more effective use of land and, ultimately, deliver more homes.

Henry Knight, Managing Director, Springtide Capital commented: “Springtide Capital welcomes the steps taken in the budget, which provides a number of opportunities to bring momentum into the housing market. The announcement that the Help to Buy scheme in particular is extending beyond its initial 2021 deadline will help more people to get on the property ladder and is positive news for first-time buyers.”

Sources:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/budget-to-support-new-housing-high-streets-and-local-services

https://www.which.co.uk/news/2018/10/autumn-budget-2018-property-and-help-to-buy/

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-reform-supporting-the-high-street-and-increasing-the-delivery-of-new-homes

 

 

 

Gross mortgage lending for July was £24.6bn

 

According to the latest Household Finance Update from UK Finance, gross mortgage lending for July 2018 is 7.6 percent higher than the same time last year.

  • The number of mortgage approvals by the main high street banks in July fell by 0.8 per cent year-on-year.
  • Within the above figure, remortgage approvals were 2.8 per cent higher than for the same period a year earlier.
  • There was a fall in house purchase and other secured borrowing of 0.6 per cent and 11.7 per cent respectively.
  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.3% in July 2018, unchanged from June 2018.

HOUSING

 Average House Price hits new record

  • The Halifax House Price Index reported that house prices in the three months to July increased by 3.3% against the same period in 2017.
  • The average UK house price is now £230,280, the highest on record, indicating that house prices are still growing in many areas, despite the economic uncertainty over Brexit.

UK Finance’s Mortgage Trends in London Update for Quarter 2 2018

  • There were 6,800 new mover mortgages completed in London in the second quarter of 2018, 8.1 per cent fewer than in the same quarter of 2017. The £2.77bn of new lending in the quarter was 8.6 per cent down year-on-year.
  • A total of 15,200 new remortgages in London completed in the second quarter, some 16.9 per cent more than in the same quarter a year earlier. The £4.84bn of remortgages in the second quarter was 23.2 per cent more year-on-year as buyers were keen to search out competitive deals pre the expected Bank of England base rate rise last month
  • The average first-time buyer in the capital is 32 and has a gross household income of £68,000.

Fundamental review on Help to Buy policy to be launched

  • Almost 170,000 families have now taken advantage of Help to Buy since its launch in 2013. That has seen the Government provide more than £8.9billion of support, with the scheme extended to last until 2021 and an additional £10 billion pledged.
  • Recent research suggests that the scheme – which was implemented primarily to help first-time buyers – is pushing up house prices and only helping wealthy people to move up the housing ladder. It is claimed that a fifth of households have used the scheme to upgrade their homes and that it has been used by a significant proportion of high income households.

The proposed review by Ministers comes as the government faces mounting pressure from mortgage lenders and property developers to announce plans to finance the policy beyond 2021, when the current tranche of funding runs out

Henry Knight, Managing Director of Springtide Capital comments ‘Help to Buy is invaluable in London, where buyers need even more support to get onto the property ladder than in other areas of the country due to the more expensive London property market. It is key that the government move quickly in any review process that is put in place’

Sources:

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/household-finance-update-july-2018/

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/consumerpriceinflation/july2018

https://static.halifax.co.uk/assets/pdf/mortgages/pdf/July-2018-House-Price-

Index.pdf

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/london-remortgaging-activity-reaches-nine-year-high-as-house-purchase-activity-slows/

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article-6122977/Ministers-fear-Help-Buy-scheme-pushing-house-prices.html

Japanese knotweed-not such a problematic plant

Japanese knotweed-not such a problematic plant

Homeowners whose property values are weighed down by Japanese knotweed could have found a reprieve. A new study suggests the plant is relatively harmless and refusing mortgages on properties where Japanese knotweed is in evidence is out of proportion to the risk associated with the plant.

Research by the University of Leeds and engineering firm Aecom, assessed the potential of Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) to cause structural damage compared to other plants.

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)

The Seven Meter Rule

In the UK, Japanese knotweed has been historically thought to pose a significant risk of damage to buildings that are within seven metres of the above-ground elements of the plant – the so-called ‘seven metre rule’. This rule takes into account that due to its underground shoots, known as rhizomes, the plant can spread significantly under the surface and warrants investigations into the reach of the plants roots. It is believed that in London the presence of this plant can cause a reduction in value of up to 25% on a property.

Once knotweed is identified in homebuyers’ surveys, mortgage lenders often require evidence that a treatment programme is in place. Specialist treatment can cost between £2,000 to £5,000 for a three-bedroom semi-detached house.

Property values can be affected, even after action is taken to control it, so this new research should help to alleviate homebuyers fears when faced with the invasive plant.

Dr Mark Fennell, Principal Ecologist at AECOM, who led the study, said: “Our research sought to broaden existing knowledge about the risk to buildings of Japanese knotweed compared to other plants. We found nothing to suggest that Japanese knotweed causes significant damage to buildings – even when it is growing in close proximity – and certainly no more damage than other species that are not subject to such strict lending policies.”

 Unwelcome Visitor

Knotweed was introduced in the 19th century as an ornamental plant and is widely spread across the UK.  The Government has estimated that it would cost £1.5 billion to eradicate in the UK. An infestation plagued Hampstead near the homes of Thierry Henry, Tom Conti and Esther Rantzen.

The report examined 68 homes where knotweed was found, plus 81 additional sites. Ecologists investigated existing theories on knotweed damage and approached surveyors and invasive species experts.

“This plant poses less of a risk to buildings and other structures than many woody species, particularly trees.” states Co-Author of the report Dr Karen Bacon from the University of Leeds.

A spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors backed the research and said that “while knotweed has caused concerns, some are based on misunderstanding”.

The Impact of The Report

Henry Knight, Managing Director from Springtide Capital commentated: ‘While lenders are unlikely to relax their rules around knotweed overnight, this new research into the issue should help inform changes in lending criteria and mould thinking about the severity of the issue, helping to make lending more probable going forward.”

Springtide Capital offer impartial advice from a dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced team.

Contact us on 0203 040 4400

info@springtidecapital.com

Sources:

https://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/4262/japanese_knotweed-not_such_a_knotty_problem

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/revealed-japanese-knotweed-not-big-deal-groundbreaking-report/

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/japanese-knotweed-london-to-be-hit-by-surge-of-destructive-plant-after-warm-winter-a3218976.html

Gross Mortgage Lending for June

 

According to the latest Household Finance Update from UK Finance, gross mortgage lending for June 2018 is £23.5bn, 2.1% higher than a year earlier.

THE ECONOMY

The Office of National Statistics reported the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.3% in June 2018, unchanged from May 2018.

  • Credit card spending was 4.7 per cent higher than a year earlier, with outstanding levels of card borrowing having grown by 5.6 per cent over the year.

HOUSING

  • Estimated gross mortgage lending for the total market in June is £23.5bn, 2.1 per cent higher than a year earlier.
  • Within this figure, remortgaging approvals increased and were 3.4 per cent higher than for the same period a year earlier, this was offset by the 4.7 per cent fall in house purchase approvals and 4.3 per cent fall in other secured borrowing.

Eric Leenders, Managing Director, Personal Finance at UK Finance commented:

“Lending to households has continued to grow modestly in line with recent trends. Meanwhile growth in mortgage lending continues to be driven by remortgaging, as borrowers take advantage of attractive deals ahead of an anticipated Bank rate rise.”

HALIFAX HOUSE PRICE INDEX

House prices continue to remain broadly flat, with the annual growth rate marginally slowing from 1.9% in May to 1.8% in June. The average Price of a UK home is currently £225,654.

BANK OF ENGLAND BASE RATE RISE FROM 0.5% to 0.75%

  • On the 2nd August 2018 the Bank of England increased their base rate from 0.5% to 0.75%                                                                                             
  • This is only the third base rate change in almost a decade – and only the second time it has been increased during that time.
  • The rise was already predicted by most experts, financial insiders and mortgage providers, lenders and banks had already begun to make small adjustments to their product offerings and deals.
  • The impact for homeowners and mortgage holders should be minimal. Many UK homeowners are locked into fixed-rate mortgages and will not feel the immediate impact from a base rate rise. Rates are still very low by historical standards. The base rate was at 5% when the Global Financial Crisis hit in 2007.

MORTGAGE APPROVALS

  • Bank of England figures show 65,619 mortgage approvals were made to purchasers in June. This represents a five-month high, although still down year-on-year.

Henry Knight, Managing Director of Springtide Capital commented:

‘The number of mortgages approved for house purchases increased in June, to just short of 66,000. This is a modest rise but encouraging to see in the current market’

Sources:

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/household-finance-update-june-2018/

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/consumerpriceinflation/june2018

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/money-and-credit/2018/june-2018

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetary-policy-summary-and-minutes/2018/august-2018

https://www.buyassociation.co.uk/2018/06/12/lenders-explore-new-ways-to-attract-customers-with-low-tracker-rate/

 

 

 

 

Multiple benefits of using a Mortgage Broker in today’s fast paced world

 

Securing the property of your dreams often means moving quickly. For those who are generally time poor, the service a broker provides can take the pain and hassle out of the process and ensure that deadlines are met.

In a recent survey by Legal and General, in the UK, up to three quarters of first time buyers said they expect to use a broker when looking for a mortgage.

‘This figure is relatively high due to the average age of the first time buyer being around 30 years old” comments Henry Knight, Managing Director at Springtide Capital.

“Applicants in this age group are living in a particularly fast paced, stressful, and time crunched world and use us because we take away the hassle of filling out multiple forms and applications.”

Searching through mortgage deals can be a time consuming exercise. 53% of all surveyed used a mortgage broker because they could access a wider range of mortgage deals, the product choice that brokers offer currently provides consumers with access to 30,482 products compared to only 3,408 for those who go direct.

In recent years as tougher criteria has been applied to mortgage applications mortgages have become more difficult to secure. Complex cases can be expertly steered through by experienced brokers as they have close working relationships with key decision makers and understand the systems used in the process. A mortgage broker will look at a variety of lenders to suit individual circumstances and won’t take up time offering mortgages from a lender that they think are not viable. And while price comparison websites may seem to save time, using a mortgage broker provides specialist industry knowledge with the reassurance of talking to a real person.

The recent survey also found that 67% said they would be likely to speak to a broker about buy to let mortgages. While 81% of UK buyers recognise the value of using a Mortgage Broker.

Henry Knight at Springtide Capital highlights:

“In using a mortgage broker, you will receive an expert opinion on which is the best mortgage for you in terms of the interest rate and the likelihood of your application being accepted. This expertise will save significant time and by having an in depth understanding of the whole market, a broker is able to add value by advising on what is and isn’t possible from the outset.”

Springtide Capital look to assist borrowers in obtaining competitive, bespoke mortgage solutions often on exclusive terms for the following:

We also provide personal and property protection advice.

To speak to us today, call Springtide Capital on 020 3040 4400 to book an appointment with a mortgage consultant.

Source:

https://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/majority-uk-buyers-recognise-benefits-using-mortgage-broker-new-study-shows/?utm_source=sendinblue&utm_campaign=PW_Daily_Newsletter_11th_May_2018&utm_medium=email

 

Housing highlights from the Spring Budget 2018

 

As the Government comes under continued pressure to deliver on their new homes target, Philip Hammond reaffirmed his commitment in the recent Spring Budget announcements.

As expected there were no major surprises, with rumours that Mr Hammond will keep any significant policy changes until the Autumn budget.

London gets a boost

  • Confirmation was given on the £1.67 billion funding package for London to build affordable homes for families living in the capital.
  • This package will help to build 26,000 more of the affordable homes required. This is another step towards delivering an additional 116,000 affordable homes and will bring the total funding in London to £4.8 billion.
  • The Government has already delivered nearly 82,000 affordable homes in the area, including 58,000 homes, specifically for rent since 2010.

Sir Oliver Letwin’s interim report to the Chancellor of the Exchequer

  • Sir Oliver Letwin has also set out the next steps of his independent interim review investigating the gap between planning permissions granted and number of homes completed.
  • According to the Government “The first phase, which aimed to identify the main causes of the gap by reviewing large housing sites where planning permission has already been granted, focused on information-gathering sessions with local authorities, developers and non-government organisations and visits to large sites.
  • “Sir Oliver’s review has found that the absorption rate – the rate at which newly constructed homes can be sold into the local market – appears to be a fundamental driver of the rate at which houses are built.”
  • His final report will be produced in time for the Autumn Budget.

West Midlands Funding Boost

  • The West Midlands has been given a £100 million boost to fund a housing package to support the delivery of 215,000 new homes. The funding will help to acquire land and prepare it for housing.
  • The Mayor of the West Midlands announced that he would be taking the Housing Infrastructure Fund Forward by funding a bid for Housing Growth Areas including the Commonwealth Games site at Perry Barr in Birmingham.

 Getting Britain Building again

  • A £60 million investment has also been announced to boost the Housing Growth Partnership fund that supports small and medium-sized housebuilders.
  • Lloyds Banking Group has match funded bringing the total additional investment to £120 million.

Henry Knight, Managing Director, Springtide Capital commented: “The Spring Budget didn’t reveal anything drastic; however, it does detail the funds, and more importantly measures and research, which when combined will begin to deal with the housing crisis. Our client base is centred around London, where there is a severe lack of affordable housing; we see more property purchases on the borders of London because of this.”

Sources:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-support-to-boost-house-building-momentum

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-build-out-preliminary-update

Gross mortgage lending for March at £20.5bn

 

According to the latest UK Finance Update on Lending report, gross mortgage lending for March 2018 is £20.5bn, a 2.3 per cent decrease on the same time last year.

THE ECONOMY

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) recently reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) 12-month rate had dropped to 2.5 per cent in March 2018, which had decreased from 2.7% in February 2018. According to the ONS, the decrease in rate is primarily due to prices for clothing and footwear rising by less than a year ago.

Unemployment sits at 4.2 per cent according to the ONS; there were 32.34 million people in work in March, which is 396,000 more than a year earlier.

UK Finance reported that credit card spending grew at a rate of 5.8 per cent over the year, while repayments outstripped new lending in the first quarter of 2018.

NEW SECRETARY OF STATE FOR HOUSING COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

  • In April, James Brokenshire was appointed as the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
  • Following his appointment, Brokenshire tweeted: “Honoured to have been asked by the Prime Minister to serve as Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government. Looking forward to taking the government’s agenda forward especially on building the homes our country needs.”
  • Former Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire has been appointed to this role after Sajid Javid was named Home Secretary following Amber Rudd’s resignation.

HOUSING

The UK’s gross mortgage lending is estimated at £20.5bn, 2.3 per cent lower than the same time last year. UK Finance cited a 15 per cent decline in the number of total mortgage approvals, with house purchase approvals falling by almost 21 per cent, compared to a year earlier.

Eric Leenders, Managing Director, Personal Finance at UK Finance commented: “There was a rising trend in mortgage approvals for the first three months of 2018 although the number is slightly lower than the same period in 2017. March figures show that consumer borrowing was fairly modest.”

Henry Knight, Managing Director, Springtide Capital commented: “Despite March’s figures showing a slowdown in mortgage lending, the quarterly figures indicate a more positive trend with some encouraging movement in the market. Ahead of the spring period we expect to see a stable market, although ongoing sentiment may depend on any further interest rate rises.”

Sources:

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/update-on-lending-march-2018/

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices#main