Thursday, March 29, 2012
House prices dip, service sector grows
Posted by David Smith at 10:00 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

House prices have fallen by 1% in March, according to the Nationwide, converting a 0.9% annual rise a month ago into a 0.9% annual fall this month. The removal of the stamp duty concession for first-time buyers may have been a factor, though the increase in standard variable rates by many mortgage lenders will not have helped. Nationwide expects prices to be flat or slightly lower for the remainder of the year. Its release is here.

The slowdown in the housing market, and the likely stamp duty effect, was confirmed in data from the Bank of England. Mortgage approvals slumped to 48,986 in February, from 57,899 in January. The January numbers were boosted by the rush to beat the stamp duty deadline, the February figures depressed. More here.

There was better news from the Office for National Statistics on service sector output. It rose by 0.2% between December and January and was 0.5% up on its fourth quarter average. Service sector output in January was 1.8% up on a year earlier, as detailed here.