Latest figures from the Bank of England show that the stock of personal debt has fallen for the first time since the Bank began recording the figures in 1993 (search for table LPMVTUV in the Bank of England’s Statistical Interactive Database). So why are people on average paying back more than they are borrowing and what will be the implications for the economy? The following articles look at the issues.
Record decline in UK lending threatens recovery Financial Times (1/9/09)
Britons’ mortgage repayments outstrip new loans Times Online (1/9/09)
Personal debt dips for first time BBC News (1/9/09)
Mortgage approvals rise again but repayments outstrip lending Guardian (1/9/09)
Exceptional times BBC, Stephanomics (2/9/09)
Personal debt falls BBC Today Programme (2/9/09)
UK personal debt levels fall (video) BBC News (2/9/09
For the July data from the Bank of England see:
Lending to Individuals: July 2009
and for later periods, if you access this news item after September 2009, see:
Lending to Individuals: latest
- What is the effect on aggregate demand of a net repayment of debt by individuals? What other information would you need to have in order to calculate whether aggregate demand is rising or falling?
- Use the Excel data from the Bank of England’s Statistical Interactive Database (linked above in the introduction to this news item) to trace the credit crunch.
- For what reasons have individuals switched from net accumulation of debt to net repayment of debt? Does this suggest that the fall in interest rates over the past 12 months has had a perverse effect?
- What factors have been determining personal saving and borrowing since the start of the credit crunch?
- What are the short-term and long-term implications of a reduction in personal debt?
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
- Why has the collapse of the housing market had much wider repercussions on the UK economy? Consider the impact on construction, solicitors, surveyors.
- Have any groups benefited from falling house prices?
- How has the UK’s monetary policy in particular helped to stimulate the UK housing market? Has it been successful?
- Why are lenders so reluctant to lend? Is this a direct result of the sub-prime crisis in America?
- What is the meaning of ‘negative equity’? How does being in a situation of negative equity affect people’s behaviour?