Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Confusing consumers
Posted by David Smith at 09:15 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

This is the Nationwide's latest consumer confidence index:

"The Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index fell by 4 points to 94 in February, and is 16 points down on a year ago. This was the 9th fall in 12 months. For the first time since the index began in May 2004 all four indices have fallen in the month. Confidence in the Present Situation has reached its lowest ever level."

And this is the Halifax's latest house price survey:

"House prices increased by 1.4% in February, more than offsetting January's fall (0.2%). The mixed pattern of monthly price rises and falls is a typical feature of a slower housing market. Annual house price inflation, at 5.5%, was broadly unchanged from December 2005 and January 2006."

Is a 1.4% monthly rise in prices typical of a slowing market? Confused? You should be.


Its all spin isnt it. I'm sure the gloomy reports are to try and influence the BoE decision. These reports all seem to come out on the first week of the month, prior to the MPC meeting. The same can be said for the highstreet performance.

As for the positive news, most is to try and influence the buying public that all is rosey, and to go ahead and buy, before its too late. Basically scaremongering. With the amount of jobs being lost, and the levels of debt in this country, these house price rises surely can't continue?

Posted by: Kev M at March 8, 2006 11:03 AM


Well one index is so young, that its hard to draw anything from it. However the BOE did say that consumption and house prices ahd decoupled, so perhaps they have and people will still buy houses but feel a bit down and not spend on other things.

Also depsite the Halifax saying it was pointing to a slowing market, if the annual HPI is calculated without the rolling average it has now hit 6.7%.

Approvals are up, and they consistant with the housing market picking up.

Finally to smooth the numbers here is the rolling three month average of the nationwide and Halifax indicies, showing signs the market picked up in the autumn, average is about 0.7% per month

MoM Annual
Oct 2004 0.0% 17.9%
Nov 2004 0.2% 16.5%
Dec 2004 0.1% 14.8%
Jan 2005 0.5% 13.6%
Feb 2005 0.4% 12.0%
Mar 2005 0.2% 10.1%
Apr 2005 0.1% 8.1%
May 2005 0.0% 6.1%
June 2005 0.0% 4.5%
July 2005 0.0% 3.0%
Aug 2005 0.4% 2.6%
Sept 2005 0.6% 2.5%
Oct 2005 0.7% 3.2%
Nov 2005 0.6% 3.6%
Dec 2005 0.6% 4.2%
Jan 2006 0.7% 4.3%
Feb 2006 0.7% 4.6%

Posted by: kingofnowhere at March 8, 2006 01:37 PM

So the Halifax index is up and the Nationwide index is down. That should muddy the waters in the already murky pond.

I strongly suspect the tail is trying to wag the dog here, and the BofE's claim that houseprice inflation is decoupled from spending smacks of self-assurance in a wobbly housing market.

Posted by: Paul Owen at March 9, 2006 12:16 PM
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