Among other factors (policy and economic performance being key), changes to taxation in the form of stamp duty land tax at point of sale can have a big impact on the level of activity in the UK housing market. The most recent significant impacts on the market have been the higher rate taxes on the market over £1million and the surcharge on second homes.
The housing market – including prices, mortgage approvals and rental prices – are viewed as symbolic of wider economic trends, such as in investor and consumer confidence. House and rental price growth, or lack thereof, is seen by economists, media commentators, and the public as a fundamental economic indicator, and these metrics always get a lot of air time.
It is a complicated story for the housing market in the first quarter of 2018 with marked regional variations and continuing uncertainty as the country waits for the outcomes of the Brexit negotiations. The UK economy continues to grow, albeit slowly, but despite declining inflation levels and wages finally starting to rise, consumer confidence remains in negative territory.
Statistics are a brilliant way to shed light on the way markets behave and have become an essential part of business life in these days of big data (and fake news).
On the 1st of November 2017, the Bank of England voted to raise interest rates for the first time in more than ten years. After such a long period without any increase, this news inevitably grabbed the headlines but the new rate of 0.5% still remains the second lowest on record.