Tag: housing market

The housing market has been very volatile over the past year or so. House prices crashed, but then appeared to stabilise. Since then, however, different sources have given very different opinions and predictions about future movements. According to Nationwide Building Society, house prices have increased by an average of £53 a day during September, but others suggest that they remain stable and that they may fall again in 2010.

Not only are house prices important to those buying and selling, but the state of the housing market is also crucial for the recovery of the economy. For example, the construction industry has suffered over the past year and, as of the 2nd October 2009, unemployment in this sector stood at 17.1%. As more and more workers lose their jobs, their disposable income falls and hence demand in the economy is affected. With the possibility of an election debate between the party leaders, many will be waiting to see what their strategies are to revitalise a struggling economy.

House prices rise an average of £53 a day’ Daily Record, Clinton Manning (3/10/09)
Mortgage approvals dip in August BBC News (29/9/09)
Construction contracts at slowest pace for seven months Construction News, Nick Whitten (5/5/09)
House sales ‘stalled’ in August BBC News (22/9/09)
Housing market needs ‘feel-good’ factor to recover City Wire, Nicholas Paler (26/6/09)
Double whammy for first-timers as prices stabilise and loans dry up Scotsman, Jeff Salway (3/10/09)
Head-to-head view on house prices BBC News, Kevin Peachey (27/8/09)
UK construction industry still contracting, says Cips Guardian, Kathryn Hopkins (2/10/09)
House prices see ‘slight decline’ BBC News (28/9/09)
House prices ‘back to 2008 level’ BBC News (2/10/09)
Construction unemployment rises to 17.1% HomeTown Sources (2/10/09)
House prices up – but so are insolvencies Management Today (2/10/09)
Financial shadow cast by city apartments BBC News (8/10/09)

For house price data see:
Nationwide House Prices
Halifax House Price Index from the Lloyds Banking Group
Housing Market and House Prices from the Department of Communites and Local Government

Questions

  1. Why are recent movements in the housing market going to be a problem for first-time buyers?
  2. The ‘Stamp duty holiday’ will soon come to an end. What do you think will be the impact on the demand for and supply of houses and hence equilibrium prices over the next 6 months?
  3. One of the reasons why house prices have stabilised is a lack of supply. How does this affect equilibrium prices?
  4. Why is the economy so affected by changes in house prices? Think about what happens when construction workers lose their jobs and how this affects aggregate demand. Then consider how the macroeconomy will be affected.
  5. When demand for houses increases, why do prices increase so rapidly? Consider elasticity.

The global economy has been in a recession since December 2007, but have we now passed the worst of it? Whilst companies are still going bankrupt, unemployment is still rising, the housing market is still looking pretty gloomy and government debt surely can’t go up anymore, there are indications that we’ve reached the bottom of the recession. There are murmurs that the economy may start to recover towards of the end of the year.

But, of course, economics wouldn’t be economics if there wasn’t considerable disagreement. Many still believe that the worst is yet to come. According to the OECD, the recession is ‘near the bottom’. Yet, output in the UK is still set to decline by 4.3% in 2009, and by 2010 the budget deficit is predicted to have grown to 14%. Unemployment is at its highest since November 1996, but US consumer confidence is said to be rising and the pound is climbing. Read these articles and make up your mind about the state of the UK and global economy!!

Business and Consumer Surveys (After following link, click on chart) European Commission, Economic and Financial Affairs (29/6/09)
Pound climbs against euro as King sees signs recession easing Bloomberg, Lukanyo Mnyanda, Gavin Finch (20/6/09)
Bank says banking crisis easing BBC News (25/6/09)
First signs of optimism returning to some parts of financial services CBI PRess Release (29/6/09)
Darling and King agreed on tentative recovery Guardian, Ashley Seager (17/6/09)
Sharp contration for UK economy BBC News (30/6/09)
Housing market knocked by price falls Moneywise (22/6/09)
OECD says recession ‘near bottom’ BBC News, Steve Schifferes (24/6/09)
US Federal Reserve says recession is ‘easing’ Telegraph, James Quinn (24/6/09)
Public borrowing at record levels BBC News (18/6/09)
Leading index suggests recession easing UPI.com (18/6/09)
US consumer confidence up in June BBC News (26/6/09)
Blow for housing market as prices fall The Independent, David Prosser (22/6/09)
Most UK businesses freeze pay as recession bites, CBI says Telegraph, Peter Taylor (23/6/09)

Questions

  1. What are the typical characteristics of a recession? Do the current statistics of the four main macroeconomic objectives fit in with what economic theory tells us?
  2. Which policies would governments normally implement to get a economy into the expansionary/recovery phase of the business cycle and how do they work?
  3. Why is consumer confidence so key to economic recovery?
  4. What type of banking regulation is needed to prevent a similar crisis happening again?
  5. Movements in the housing market are often seen as indicators of the state of the economy. Why is this?

The global recession can be traced back to the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market in America and so it’s hardly surprising that one of the biggest sufferers of this global crisis has been the housing market. House prices in the UK had, for some months, been in apparent free-fall, but they now appear to have stabilised. Some estate agents report prices beginning to increase, but others say they’re still falling.

Whilst lower prices should be an encouraging sign for first-time-buyers, there is another obstacle in their way. Mortgage lenders have been requiring large deposits and, unsurprisingly, have become more vigilant about whom they lend to and how much. Read the articles below that look at the crisis in the housing market and consider the impact this has had on the wider economy.

Experts far more upbeat about UK house market The Herald, Ian McConnell (26/6/09)
Gloomy CIPS data shows further woes for construction firms Construction News, Nick Whitten (2/10/08)
Construction contracts at slowest pace for seven months Construction News, Nick Whitten (5/5/09)
House prices decline again in May BBC News (26/6/09)
Mortgage lending falls back again BBC News (18/6/09)
More fixed-rate mortgages go up BBC News (16/6/09)
Housing market needs ‘feel-good factor’ to recover CityWire, Nicholas Paler (26/6/09)
Housing market set for recovery Exec Digital, Ben Lobel (26/6/09)
Home-ownership ‘aspirations hit’ BBC News (15/6/09)
House prices fall 1.7 percent in April Exec Digital (6/5/09)
Spring bounce in mortgage lending BBC News (11/6/09)
Is the first rung on the property ladder broken? BBC News, Kevin Peachey (27/4/09)
Lack of affordability may slow housing sector recovery RLA News Service (25/6/09)

See the following two sites for house price data in the UK:
Halifax House Price data from the Lloyds Banking Group
Nationwide House Price data

Questions

  1. Why has the collapse of the housing market had much wider repercussions on the UK economy? Consider the impact on construction, solicitors, surveyors.
  2. Have any groups benefited from falling house prices?
  3. How has the UK’s monetary policy in particular helped to stimulate the UK housing market? Has it been successful?
  4. Why are lenders so reluctant to lend? Is this a direct result of the sub-prime crisis in America?
  5. What is the meaning of ‘negative equity’? How does being in a situation of negative equity affect people’s behaviour?

Changes in house prices could be considered a national obsession in the UK and recent speculation about a property crash or a crash in the buy-to-let sector of the market has been no exception. Many commentators differ about the possible direction of house prices with average annual increases of around 10% continuing. So will the sector crash? Or won’t it? The articles below consider some of the issues on the supply side and the demand side of the market.

Head to Head: Will property prices crash? BBC News Online (13/03/07)
Five million new homes needed Guardian (16/03/07)
Past report of buy-to-let’s death have been exaggerated Guardian(21/02/07)
Britain likely to need 5m new homes by 2027 Guardian (17/03/07)

Questions

1. Describe the main factors determining the level of supply and demand in the housing market in the UK.
2. Using supply and demand diagrams as appropriate, illustrate recent changes in the UK housing market. Draw a further set of diagrams to illustrate the changes in the rented sector of the housing market.
3. Assess the most likely direction of house prices in the next three years and give reasons for your answer.

The red top newspapers and others have recently been leading a campaign for the scrapping of inheritance tax. They argue that the growth in house prices means that increasing numbers are becoming subject to inheritance tax and that it is inherently unjustified as a tax. The article below by David Lipsey looks at these arguments and argues that this is a myth.

The ‘death trap’ menacing middle Britain is a myth Guardian (12/1/06)

Questions

1. Explain how inheritance tax is levied and the rates it is charged at. You can always use the HM Treasury budget site to find out more detail on the tax.
2. Assess the advantages and disadvantages of the scrapping of inheritance tax. What impact is the ending of a tax of this nature likely to have on the macroeconomic performance of the UK?
3. Discuss the assertion in the article that “substantial inheritance is the enemy of equality of opportunity”?