Data Watch: March 2018

Take a look at all the stats and figures from March 2018

ONS Inflation Survey

According to the ONS, inflation (CPI) fell to 2.7% in February, down from 3% in January.

  • Downward pressure came from transport, food and accommodation prices, which rose at a slower rate than a year ago.
  • Lower inflation may ease the pressure on household spending caused by prices rising faster than earnings.

 

Land Registry House Price Index, March 2018

According the latest Land Registry House Price Index, the average UK house price in January 2018 was £225,621, up 4.9% year-on-year.

  • The average house price in London was £485,830, up 2.1% year-on-year.
  • Merton had the highest growth rate in London, up 5.6% to £510,576.
  • Regionally, the East Midlands and Scotland showed the strongest growth, up 7.3% to £185,568 and £148,512 respectively.

 

ONS Employment and Wage Statistics

According to ONS, employment remains at historically high levels.

  • The latest data shows that the UK employment rate increased to 75.3% in the three months to January 2018, up from 75.2% in the previous month.
  • Wages grew by 2.6% year-on-year in January, up from 2.5% in December and the strongest figure since November 2016.
  • With the latest CPI inflation at 2.7%, this means that real wages are still falling but to a much lesser extent than the past 12 months.

 

GfK Consumer Confidence Index, March 2018

The GfK UK Consumer Confidence Index rose to -7 in March, the highest reading since May 2017.

  • Confidence in the 12 months ahead and the likelihood of major purchases are at their highest point for a year
  • Savings confidence is up 14 points on last year, the highest since 2008.
  • Increased optimism may reflect high levels of employment, unexpected wage growth, low interest rates and good news on Brexit negotiations.

 

Bank of England Mortgage Approvals and Interest Rates

According to the Bank of England 56,921 mortgages for house purchase were approved in February 2018.

  • This means that February approvals were down 4.8% (SA) on January 2018, and down 7% on February 2017.
  • The average fixed mortgage rate in February was 1.49% (for a 75% loan-to-value loan), marginally lower than the January average (1.53%), and virtually unchanged from February 2017.