According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the employment rate has risen throughout the UK. It found that, between September and November last year, 32.54 million were in a job while unemployment stands at 1.37 million after a slight rise of 8,000.
The proportion of people in work is now 75.8%, highest level since 1971. The global financial crisis of 2008 led to a fall in this metric, but since hitting a recent low of 70.3% in early 2012, it has increased steadily to its current peak.
In addition, wages increased by 3.3% while inflation currently sits at 2.1%, a 22-month low driven by falling oil prices that have driven down the price of petrol and air fares.
The property industry will hope that the greater level of certainty provided by rising employment will result in confident homebuyers. Rightmove also reported that their website had 4.5 million visits in the first 2 weeks of 2018, 5% up on the same time in 2017.
Furthermore, Rightmove and Your Move’s latest surveys showed property prices up nationally by just 0.4% and 0.3% respectively, but a regional breakdown gives a fuller picture. House prices in the north-west of England were the strongest in Rightmove’s report, rising by 2.6% to an average of £194,000.
Your Move illustrate that in the regions of the East Midlands, West Midlands as well as the north-west and in Wales, prices increased by above the inflation rate
According to Acadata who compiled the Your Move report, “A broadly static market does allow for the possibility that we will see some improvement in the house price-to-income ratio, and thus in buying capacity over the longer term – assuming of course that wages continue to rise and employment remains at record levels,”.
“There are some big “ifs” in such a synopsis. Not surprisingly, there are mixed views of what 2019 will bring, and many are caveating their predictions by saying that much depends on how Brexit plays out. Many would concur that agreement on a deal would see a bounce in demand. The range of price predictions by the main analysts for the UK for 2019 runs from minus 1% up to plus 2.5% – with most but not all expecting continued falls in London.
“2020 is generally seen as a year of recovery, although the precise timing will very much depend on the degrees of clarity emerging around the macro-economy. There does now seem to be greater realism in the market, with seller expectations more aligned to buyer offers, and this has allowed some to make beneficial market moves.”