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Now is the best time to buy a house in London in five years

Now is the best time to buy a house in London in over five years, according to property market analysts Hometrack, but housing analysts recommend waiting longer still.

Sales prices in London have fallen to four per cent lower than asking prices, according to a property monitor released by the firm.

Discounting in London has increased. In 2014, when house prices were rising at a rate of 20 per cent per annum, the sales prices were just 0.5 per cent lower than asking prices.

Slower demand has resulted in the discount widening to an average of 4 per cent, which means homes in London are selling for 4 per cent less than the asking price.

This is the biggest discount registered by Hometrack in over five years and has created what is known as a “buyer’s market”, even though house prices continue to grow in London at a rate of 1.8 per cent.

A bigger discount can indicate that house prices will start falling. Asking prices can act as a “shock absorber”, ahead of weaker house prices, when there is less demand.

The property market still has some way to go: Hometrack says house prices start to fall once discounts get close to 10 per cent.

Meanwhile discounts are decreasing in both Manchester and Birmingham, which shows that the house market is stronger in these cities. House prices are growing at between 6 and 8 per cent per annum, Hometrack says, at the same time as the discount to listing price is narrowing.

House prices are falling in Oxford, Cambridge and Aberdeen, though house prices have yet to start falling in London.

Russell Quirk, chief executive of eMoov, says buyers in London will have to wait a little longer before house prices start to fall.

“Those in London and the surrounding areas will have to wait a little while longer, partly due to far greater levels of price inflation, but also due to a refusal to accept the previous market reality and lower their price expectations in the first place,” Quirk says.

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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Predicted Buy-to-Let Investment Hotspots for 2018

No-one invests in property for the fun of it. Every landlord chooses to rent out property in the hope of making money, whether that is through rental yields or capital growth. With that in mind, the location of your investment needs careful consideration if you are going to get a good return on your money.

When choosing an area for your UK property investment, there are practical considerations to think about, such as whether you want something close to you for easier management or it may be because of personal ties in the area. Choosing somewhere with good amenities will make your property more attractive to potential tenants, whilst you also need to consider the level of demand for property in the locale.

When all this is considered, you still need to be aware of the best places to incest to get a healthy rental yield.

Liverpool Property

Liverpool is a city that features highly in most lists of where to buy property. A number of postcodes within the area have the highest average yields in the UK including Edge Hill, Fairfield, Kensington and the city centre itself. The L7 postcode has the huge yield of 12.63%, but with the prices for Liverpool property investment lower than the UK average this could be the hottest of all hotspots. The area is home to three different universities as a well as an increasing number of young professionals, making rental demand in Liverpool high.

Other Liverpool postcodes take second, third, tenth and eleventh place in the list of highest average rental yields in the UK, making it well worth consideration.

North versus South

Whilst the north of the UK is usually thought of to give better value for money, it is actually Plymouth that takes the next spot on the list below Liverpool. The average yield of 10.15% leaves it sitting pretty above the 10.06% of Cleveland, 10.04% in Preston, 9.57% in Dudley and 8.91% in Nottingham.

Manchester is another city that makes multiple appearances in the list, its highest average yield being found unsurprisingly in Salford. This 8.25% yield is probably largely due to the influx of professionals wanting to work in or near the newly located MediaCity.

Whilst there a few anomalies, the north of the country makes up the majority of the list of highest yields in the UK, and it will not be a shock to many to discover that London makes up a good proportion of the worst performing areas. Despite the fact that rental prices in London are the highest in the country, the incredibly high property prices mean that much of the rent that is recovered will simply be paying for your extremely high investment. Bournemouth actually takes the honours of having the lowest average yield of just 1.41%.

Smaller Areas

What these postcodes show us is that strong rental yields can be limited to small areas, and these are often the ones that are undergoing significant regeneration. Low entry points are attracting landlords from all corners of the UK, but it is important to keep an eye on the market, as popular areas are seeing the market being driven by investors rather than renters which could end up leading to the problem of oversupply.

As property prices rise and lenders become more cautious, getting a decent return on invest is more of a challenge than it used to be. Before investing you need to have plenty of information at your disposal to make sure you put your money in the right place.

Source: Easier

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Plans submitted to build more than 130 homes at Brandon Stadium

Plans been submitted to Rugby Borough Council by the owners of Brandon Stadium to build houses on the mothballed speedway site.

The application by Brandon Estates was submitted on Friday January 26 and although the detail has not been revealed as yet it is believed to be for 137 homes, in line with a proposal put forward in October last year.

The stadium, former home to the Coventry Bees speedway team and CoventryStox stock car racing operation, has remained derelict since a long-running row between Brandon Estates and former Coventry Bees speedway team owner Avtar Sandhu ended with many of its fixtures and fittings being removed.

Brandon Estates reported their removal by Mr Sandhu to Warwickshire Police and a criminal investigation was launched but later dropped.

During the stand-off Mr Sandhu pledged to return the fixtures and fittings but the stalemate continued, meaning the Bees, now owned by Mick Horton, were excluded from speedway’s Elite League last season.

The Bees are set to return to competitive speedway in the forthcoming season this spring but at a lower level – and 30 miles away at Leicester.

Uncertainty over the future of the stadium continues and the Save Coventry Speedway campaign group has expressed its fears that speedway may never return to the troubled site, which has been home to top level speedway since 1928.

Brandon Estates has claimed speedway is no longer viable at the stadium and has made it clear it wishes to build new homes on the site.

But the site does not form part of Rugby Borough Council’s Local Plan and as such it is thought unlikely any application would be successful, meaning Brandon Estates might appeal a Rugby Borough Council refusal and development be the subject of a public enquiry.

David Rowe from the Save Coventry Speedway campaign group said: “The application was put in on Friday afternoon, though we can’t see it yet as it takes some time to be registered.

“As far as we know it is the same as proposals put forward in October for 137 homes.

“We are urging the council to turn it down.

“This can’t be allowed to happen.”

Mr Rowe said despite the dilapidated state of Brandon Stadium, something made worse following a number of incursions by travellers, Save Coventry Speedway had not given up hope of a return to Brandon.

He added: “It is a wearing down process but we won’t be worn down.

“We hope that if they get knocked back enough times they will get fed-up.

“The stadium is now in a terrible state because of the damage done by travellers though the speedway track is still there and good to go.

“It could be made race ready in three to four weeks and the buildings are still standing.”

Source: Coventry Telegraph

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Residential property market – national overview January 2018

 With low interest rates and supply constraints acting to support prices, the regions that suffered most in the crash are bouncing back.

SLOWER PRICE GROWTH EXPECTED IN NEXT TWO YEARS

House prices continued to show modest growth in the last quarter of 2017, but in parts of the market activity has stagnated. For the most part this means London and the South East, but is also the case for ‘top of the ladder’ properties elsewhere. An analysis of house prices in cities across the UK shows that those that experienced the weakest price growth since 2009 now have the fastest rising prices.

Low mortgage rates and healthy employment continue to support demand, while supply constraints remain a challenge for buyers and are likely to provide support for house prices overall. The Bank of England appears to be reluctant to raise interest rates further in light of the current inflationary environment and the resulting squeeze on real earnings.

Prices across the UK are expected to show only very modest growth over the next two years while the government manages the process to leave the EU. Things are expected to pick up again after 2020 when confidence returns, releasing pent-up demand.

For buyers looking for somewhere to live, supply constraints are likely to be a key challenge. For buy-to-let investors, the environment remains challenging given the unfavourable tax environment, low yields and limited capital growth prospects.

REGIONS DEFY GLOOM IN SOUTH EAST

The Nationwide House Price Index shows modest price growth. UK house prices rose by 2.6% in 2017, compared with 4.5% in 2016. The West Midlands, South West, East Midlands and the North West show the strongest annual house price growth, while London remains at the bottom of the list.

The Halifax House Price Index reported similar figures, with prices up 2.7% in 2017. Halifax expects national house price growth to stay low again in 2018.

Analysis by Rightmove shows that asking prices rose by just 1.1% in the year to January 2018. First-time buyer asking prices rose by 1.9%, ‘second-stepper’ asking prices rose by 3.2%, while ‘top of the ladder’ prices increased by a mere 0.2%.

Hometrack provides insights into performance across UK cities. Their latest data shows that Glasgow has the fastest growing house prices at 7.9%, followed by Edinburgh at 7.6%, Leicester at 7.5% and Birmingham at 7.3%. Cities with the weakest price growth since 2009 are currently recording the highest rates of price inflation. Hometrack expects city house price growth to be 5% in 2018 as regional cities support the headline growth rate.

PROPERTY SALES VOLUMES DOWN

Buyers remain very price sensitive. The latest data from Rightmove shows that sales activity is down, with sales agreed in the last quarter of 2017 down 5.5% on the same period a year ago.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) survey suggests that new buyer enquiries have edged lower and sales are slowing, particularly in the South of England and the Midlands, but improving in other regions. In the wider South East area new buyer enquiries have declined markedly and vendor instructions have increased, suggesting that negotiating power in the region is going to be with buyers at the start of 2018.

REMORTGAGES ON THE RISE

Data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) highlights the extent to which various changes to stamp duty in recent years have reduced the capacity for home movers. The number of mortgages for London movers in Q3 last year was 20% below the 2013-15 average, and less than half the average level recorded between 2005 and 2008.

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets again on 8 February to set the base interest rate, currently 0.5%. One of the key reasons analysts have suggested that the MPC should wait before hiking again is that it would hit households already struggling to cope with the squeeze on real earnings as a result of inflation – currently at 3%, 1% above the bank’s target rate. As a result, if inflation does start to fall back, then the squeeze should abate which would make further interest rate increases more manageable.

NEW BUILD STARTS UP 134% ON 2009 SLUMP

The budget introduced a government target for building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, a level that hasn’t been achieved since 1978 when local authorities built 145,000 homes.

The latest data from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) shows that all new build starts are now 134% above the trough in the March quarter of 2009, and just 18% below the peak in the March quarter of 2007. All completions are 56% above the trough in the March quarter of 2013, and 19% below their March quarter 2007 peak.

The RICS survey noted that new instructions to sell continued to decline at the headline level, extending a run of 23 months. Average stock levels on estate agents’ books remain close to historic lows, which is proving a challenge for buyers.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

House price growth has slowed in 2017, with a rise of 2.6% in 2017 compared with 4.6% in 2016. Sales activity in Q4 2017 was down by -5% compared to Q4 2016. For buyers looking for a place to live, supply constraints are likely to be a key challenge. For buy-to-let investors, the environment remains challenging given the unfavourable tax environment, low yields and limited capital growth prospects.

Source: Coutts

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Scotland ‘building more affordable homes than England’

Scotland is building more affordable homes per head of population than England despite predictions that Holyrood ministers will miss their own ambitious target for new housing.

The Scottish Government’s supply of affordable housing per capita was found to be 33 per cent higher than the UK government’s supply in England over a 10 year period from 2007.

In answer to a parliamentary question from Edinburgh North and Leith MSP Ben Macpherson, housing minister Kevin Stewart revealed that 70,861 affordable homes had been built from April 2007 to September 2017.

In 2016, Scottish ministers pledged £3 billion to build 50,000 affordable homes, 35,000 of which are destined for the social rented sector.

But the number of affordable homes completed per quarter since the middle of 2016 has averaged at just 1,808, well below the 2,673 needed to reach the 50,000 target by 2021.

The gap in completions for social rent is even wider, with an increase in the completion rate of 159 per cent needed to meet the target.

But Mr Macpherson said the per capita figure demonstrated Scotland’s “strong position” when it came to building new homes.

“This demonstrates the stark difference between the SNP and the Tories, who have let housebuilding drop to its lowest level in England since 1923, whilst cutting winter fuel payments for the elderly and lumping the Bedroom Tax on the vulnerable,” he said.

“Since coming to office, the SNP has built more than 70,000 affordable homes and will continue to increase affordable housing with our ambitious target to deliver 50,000 homes during the lifetime of this Parliament, backed by £3 billion of investment.

“Making sure everyone has a safe, warm and affordable home is central to the SNP Government’s drive for a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.”

Source: Scotsman

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First-time buyer count highest since 2007

The number of first-time buyers has gone up by 6% in the last 12 months, reaching an estimated 359,000 in 2017.

Despite this, the Halifax First-Time Buyer Review found the deposits from first-time buyers have almost doubled from the year before, rising from £17,740 in 2007 to £33,3392 in 2017, an increase of 91%.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “A flow of new buyers into home ownership is vital for the overall well-being of the UK housing market.

“This ten-year high in the number of first-time buyers shows continued healthy movement in this key area despite a shortage of homes and the ongoing challenge of saving enough of a deposit.

“Low mortgage rates, high levels of employment and government schemes such as Help to Buy have helped first-time buyers become a much greater segment of the market, and the recent abolition of stamp duty on purchases of up to £300,000 is likely to continue stimulating this growth by reducing the upfront costs associated with taking the first step on to the property ladder.”

Although the average price of a typical first home has grown by 21% from £174,703 to £212,079, first-time buyer levels have almost returned to those last seen in 2007, when 359,900 took their first step on to the property ladder.

This is an increase of 87% compared to an all-time low of 192,3002 in 2008 and is now just 11% below the most recent peak of 402,800 in 2006.

First-time buyers now account for half of all house purchases with a mortgage, an increase from 36% a decade ago.

In the past decade, the number of first-time buyers in London has fallen by 26% from 57,900 in 2007 to an estimated 42,983 in 2017.

The North is the only other region to see a drop in numbers, seeing numbers decline by 5% from 17,300 to 16,430 during the same period.

However, the number of people getting on the housing ladder in Northern Ireland has grown by 65% to 9,410.

The second largest rise was in the South West (16%, from 25,400 to 29,399). The South East has the largest number of first-time buyers in the UK, totalling over 69,000 last year, edging up from 67,600 in 2007.

For first-time buyers in southern England, average deposits have more than doubled in a decade. Outside London, the largest increase was in the South East, where deposits have risen by 157% to £51,457, but still make up less than half the amount being put down in the capital (£112,604).

By comparison, first-time buyers in Northern Ireland have fared the best, with average deposits dropping by 62% from £44,270 in 2007 to £16,814 – the lowest in the UK.

The average price of a typical first-time buyer home in the South East has increased (in cash terms) by £78,855 (or 39%) since 2007 – from £199,894 to £278,749 in 2017.

In London, the average price paid by a new entrant to the property market in the capital has grown by £134,902 to £422,580, which is double the national average.

House price growth in northern areas has been considerably more modest. In the last 10 years, the average price of a typical first-time buyer home in the North has grown by £9,462 to £126,437, while in Northern Ireland it has fallen £59,240 (33%) to £120,648 – the lowest in the UK.

The average age of a first-time buyer in 2017 was 31– two years older than a decade ago. In London it has grown from 31 to 33 –the eldest in the UK.

The biggest increase in age was in Northern Ireland, up by three years from 28 to 31.

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Economic Calendar – Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

Global financial markets will focus on this week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting, which will be the last under the leadership of Janet Yellen before she hands the chairmanship over to Jerome Powell.

There are also some major data releases in the coming week, as the calendar rolls to February from January, with Friday’s monthly employment data in the spotlight.

Meanwhile, in Europe, investors will await monthly inflation data to assess how fast the European Central Bank will start unwinding its asset purchase program.

In the UK, traders will focus on a pair of reports on activity in the manufacturing and construction sectors for further hints on the health of the economy and the likelihood of the Bank of England raising interest rates this year.

Elsewhere, market participants will be looking ahead to monthly data on China’s manufacturing sector amid recent signs that momentum in the world’s second largest economy remains strong.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of the five biggest events on the economic calendar that are most likely to affect the markets.

1. Federal Reserve Rate Decision

The Federal Reserve is not expected to take action on interest rates at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting at 2:00PM ET (1900GMT) on Wednesday, keeping it in a range between 1.25%-1.50%.

The central bank will release its post-meeting statement as investors look for any change in language which could point more clearly to a rate hike in the months ahead.

This week’s meeting will be the last under the leadership of Janet Yellen, before she is replaced by Fed Governor Jerome Powell.

The majority of economists believe that the Fed will hike rates in March, followed by another hike in June, with a third move higher arriving in December.

2. U.S. Employment Report

The U.S. Labor Department will release its January nonfarm payrolls report at 8:30AM ET (1330GMT) on Friday.

The consensus forecast is that the data will show jobs growth of 180,000, after rising by 148,000 in December. The unemployment rate is forecast to hold steady at 4.1%. Most of the focus will likely be on average hourly earnings figures, which are expected to rise 0.3% after gaining 0.3% a month earlier.

This week’s calendar also features reports on personal income and spending, which includes the personal consumption expenditures inflation data, the Fed’s preferred metric for inflation.

Data on consumer confidence, ADP private sector payrolls, pending home sales, ISM manufacturing sector growth, weekly jobless claims, construction spending, auto sales and factory orders will also be on the agenda.

Meanwhile, for the stock market, more than a fifth of the S&P 500 companies release earnings, with reports from tech heavyweights Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) likely to garner most of the attention.

Results from Dow components Boeing (NYSE:BA), AT&T (NYSE:T) and McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) as well as big oil firms ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron(NYSE:CVX) will also be in focus.

On the political front, another headliner this week will be President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. The theme of Trump’s address will be “building a safe, strong and proud America,” a senior administration official told reporters on Friday.

According to the White House, the speech will focus on five main policy areas: jobs and the economy, infrastructure, immigration, trade and national security.

3. Euro Zone Flash Inflation

The euro zone will publish flash inflation figures for January at 1000GMT (5:00AM ET) Wednesday.

The consensus forecast is that the report will show consumer prices rose 1.3%, slowing slightly from 1.4% in December, remaining short of the European Central Bank’s target of just below 2%. Perhaps more significantly, the core figure, without volatile energy and food prices, is seen inching up to 1.0% from 0.9% a month earlier.

Germany, France, Italy and Spain will produce their own CPI reports throughout the week.

In addition to the inflation data, the euro zone will publish a preliminary report on fourth-quarter economic growth on Tuesday, which if they remain strong could push the European Central Bank another step closer to ending its mass stimulus program.

The region’s economy is forecast to expand 0.6% in the June-Sept. period, equivalent to an annualized 2.7%.

The ECB reiterated last week that it will keep its €2.5 trillion stimulus program in place for as long as needed and stated that there are “very few chances” that it will change interest rates this year. Despite those remarks, market players remain convinced that easy monetary policy in the region is coming to an end sooner rather than later.

The central bank cut its monthly bond purchases from €60 billion to €30 billion back in October, but extended the program until the end of September 2018, citing muted price pressures.

4. U.K. PMI’s

The U.K. will release readings on January manufacturing sector activity at 0930GMT (4:30AM ET) on Thursday, followed by a report on the construction sector on Friday.

The manufacturing PMI is forecast to ease up to 56.5 from 56.3 a month earlier, while construction activity is expected to weaken slightly to 52.0 from 52.2.

Data released last week showed Britain’s economy unexpectedly picked up speed in the last three months of 2017, revealing that Brexit was still weighing on the economy, but not as heavily as once feared by investors.

Politics is also likely to be in focus, as market participants keep an ear out for any news regarding the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

The Bank of England raised interest rates for the first time in more than ten years in November, but said it sees only gradual rises ahead as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

5. Chinese Manufacturing PMI

The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing is to release data on January manufacturing sector activity at 0100GMT on Wednesday, amid expectations for a modest downtick to 51.5 from a reading of 51.6 in December.

The Caixin manufacturing index, which focuses more on small and mid-sized firms, is due at 0145GMT Friday. The survey is expected to dip by 0.2 points to 51.3.

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) is seen as a good indicator of economic conditions and it is even preferred by some analysts to gross domestic product, which might be affected by poor seasonal adjustment and is prone to revisions.

Anything above 50.0 signals expansion, while readings below 50.0 indicate industry contraction.

China’s economy grew 6.8% in the fourth-quarter from a year earlier, helped by a rebound in the industrial sector, a resilient property market and strong export growth.

Source: Investing

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New £25m ‘build to rent’ scheme proposed for Belfast

PLANS have been revealed for a new £25 million ‘build to rent’ apartment building in the east bank area of Belfast city centre.

The proposal, being brought forward by a joint venture between the local property developer, Vinder Capital, and Oisin Quinn of London-based developer Aldgate Developments, is the second of its kind in Belfast, following the planned 19 storey development on Academy Street in the city.

The ‘build to rent’ model sees apartments purpose-built for rental only, with ownership retained by the building owner. A management company then provides additional services such as 24/7 security, communal space and cafes for long-term tenancies. Aimed at the ‘millennial’ generation, who choose to rent or can’t yet afford to buy, it has already become a successful model in other UK cities such as London and Manchester.

The proposed Belfast development, to be known as ‘The Residence at Quay Gate’ will be located on a current surface level car park at Scrabo Street in an area south of the Lagan Bridge. The proposed building, designed by Belfast based LIKE Architects, will provide over 150 one and two bedroom apartments in the city centre set overlooking the river Lagan and the Titanic Quarter.

Gavin McEvoy from the joint venture behind the scheme believes the proposal offers potential residents a unique living experience in the city.

“Build to rent is an exciting opportunity to introduce premium services and a customer focus to apartment living which is not typically found in build for sale apartments in the Belfast market. The Residence at Quay Gate will include a dedicated relaxation area, a state of the art gymnasium, work spaces and meeting rooms and will include an integrated IT system,” he said.

“Having assessed the model in other major cities in the UK with our high class design and delivery team, we believe there is an exciting opportunity to use our knowledge of the local property market to apply the model in a Belfast context. Build to Rent is an exciting progression from the major investment that has been made in Belfast in the student accommodation sector that fills a growing need for city centre living in Belfast. Our plans will deliver a cleverly-designed, premium scheme which will deliver well managed homes and create new, sustainable communities in an area of the city centre close to the river with easy access to transport links.”

The developers will undertake a 12 week pre-application community consultation before submitting their plans to Belfast City Council. A public exhibition will be held on February 7 at the Odyssey Pavillion.

Earlier this month Lacuna/Watkin Jones, the joint venture behind multiple student accommodation schemes in the city centre, submitted a planning application for 105 one and two bed apartments on Academy Street in the Cathedral Quarter. The build to rent development includes an active ground floor with communal space for tenants, management facilities and proposed space for a café or retail use.

Source: Irish News

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UK economy unexpectedly picks up speed but Brexit effect felt

Britain’s economy unexpectedly picked up speed in the last three months of 2017, according to data which showed that the prospect of Brexit was still weighing on the economy, but not as heavily as once feared by investors.

Gross domestic product grew at its fastest pace of 2017, rising by 0.5 percent from the third quarter and beating the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists that growth would remain at 0.4 percent.

But the Office for National Statistics said the big picture was one of a slower and more uneven expansion in the world’s sixth-biggest economy as it approaches its departure from the European Union in March next year.

In 2017 as a whole, growth was 1.8 percent compared with 1.9 percent in 2016, the slowest since 2012. For comparison, the International Monetary Fund expects growth of 2.4 percent in the euro zone last year.

Investors took the data as a sign that the Bank of England might move more quickly towards only its second interest rate hike in more than a decade.

Sterling added to its recent strong rise against the U.S. dollar and climbed against the euro. [GBP/]

The Bank of England said last month it expected the economy might have slowed slightly in late 2017.

“If the UK economy does indeed struggle to move up a gear over coming months, the Bank will likely have to tread carefully when deciding whether to raise rates again this year,” James Smith, an economist with ING, said.

“We don’t expect any change in policy from the BoE in February, but a rate hike at the May meeting is an increasingly close call.”

The BoE’s rate-setters are due to announce their next decision on borrowing costs on Feb. 8.

They raised rates for the first time since 2007 in November. Most economists have said they expect the next rate hike in late 2018 but some think it could come as soon as May.

Britain’s economy grew more weakly than other big rich nations for much of last year as the impact of the 2016 Brexit vote pushed up inflation and many businesses turned cautious ahead of Brexit.

However, Britain has been helped by the recovery in the world economy last year which is expected to carry on in 2018.

Finance minister Philip Hammond described the figures as excellence, underscoring the resilience of the economy.

BoE Governor Mark Carney said on Friday Britain could start to grow more quickly later this year, if there is clarity about its future relationship with the EU.

CONSUMERS SQUEEZED

While recruitment agencies, letting agents and office management firms helped boost growth, companies which relied on spending by consumers had a much slower fourth quarter.

Manufacturers, who have prospered from demand spurred by the recovery in the global economy, also grew strongly.

Separate data published on Friday showed personal insolvencies hit a three-year high, reflecting the financial strain on many households.

Given the strength of global growth, Britain’s would have grown by about 2.5 percent in 2017 were it not for the Brexit vote, Kallum Pickering, an economist with Berenberg, said.

Compared with the same period in 2016, growth between October and December slowed to 1.5 percent, its weakest pace since the first quarter of 2013 and down from growth of 1.7 percent in the third quarter.

The Reuters poll had pointed to growth of 1.4 percent.

Friday’s data showed Britain’s dominant services sector grew by 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter, gaining pace after growth of 0.4 percent in the third quarter, the ONS said.

In November alone, services output growth was the strongest since August 2016, jumping by 0.4 percent from October. The ONS said it was expecting no monthly growth in services in December given the scale of November’s increase.

Industrial output slowed to show growth of 0.6 percent from 1.3 percent in the third quarter after the Forties oil pipeline, Britain’s biggest, was closed for more than two weeks in December after the discovery of a crack.

Britain’s construction sector shrank by 1.0 percent, its worst quarterly performance since the third quarter of 2012.

Source: UK Reuters

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UK could recouple with global economy this year – Carney

LONDON (Reuters) – Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Britain’s economy could start to grow more quickly and stop lagging behind the global economy later this year if there is clarity about Britain’s future relationship with the European Union.

“The world economy is accelerating, and we haven’t seen that yet,” Carney told BBC radio in an interview on Friday.

“There is the prospect this year, as there is greater clarity about the relationship with Europe and subsequently with the rest of the word, for a recoupling – if I can use that term borrowed from Gwyneth Paltrow – a conscious recoupling of the UK economy with the global economy.”

Britain grew more slowly than every other G7 country over the first three quarters of 2017 after the 2016 Brexit vote.

Official data due later on Friday is expected to show growth remained unchanged in the fourth quarter.

Most economists expect the BoE will raise interest rates towards end of 2018, but some think it could move as soon as May. The central bank raised rates for the first time in more than a decade in November as it saw signs that wages would rise more quickly after falling behind inflation.

Carney told the BBC that Brexit had cost Britain’s economy tens of billions of pounds in lower economic growth and companies had scaled back on their investment as they waited for more clarity on what Brexit means for them.

“Investment in advanced economies is growing at double-digit rates, and it is low single digits here,” he said.

Carney said he would not provide updated forecasts for Britain’s economy ahead of the BoE’s quarterly inflation report which is due to be published on Feb. 8.

Source: UK Reuters