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UK homes sales at 30-year low; UK retail sales up 1.9 pc on comparable basis in May

UK homes sales at 30-year low; UK retail sales up 1.9 pc on comparable basis in May

Home sales in Britain have hit a 30-year low and the country's biggest grocer reported signs of consumers reining in spending, although a burst of spring weather helped retailers post a gain in sales in May, according to reports released Tuesday.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said estate agents sold an average 17.4 properties during the three months ending May 31, the lowest figure since the survey began in 1978. The number of properties put up for sale also declined for the fifth consecutive month.
"While demand remains weak and housing transactions continue to evaporate, there is a very real danger to the wider economy," said the institution's Jeremy Leaf.
Britain's real estate slump has led to fears of a wider recession, with housing woes and rising inflation deterring people from spending money.
Tesco, Britain's biggest grocer, said sales growth for nonfood items had slowed in the 13 weeks ending May 24. "Consumers have become more cautious with their spending during recent months," the company said, though it reported a gain in market share.
The British Retail Consortium said retail sales rose 1.9 percent on a like-for-like basis in May, but noted sales of furniture and electrical goods were down despite heavy discounting, reflecting the housing slump.
With banks tightening up on lending in the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, and the Bank of England holding the line on interest rates in the face of rising inflation, Britain's long boom in the housing market has screeched to a halt.
Halifax, the nation's biggest mortgage lender, reported last week that U.K. house prices dropped 2.4 percent in May and stood 3.8 percent lower than a year ago. Another major mortgage lender, Nationwide, reported that house prices dropped 2.5 percent in May and were 4.4 percent lower than a year earlier.
The Bank of England says the number of home mortgages approved in April was the lowest in 15 years.
"The property industry will not be the only casualty in the fall out from the credit crunch, with the high street and purveyors of a range of household goods, including furniture and white goods, also feeling the pinch," Leaf said.
"Construction workers such as plumbers and bricklayers will start to see employment opportunities dry up as the pace of housing transactions continues to abate."
A government report last week said new private housing work fell 5 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago. However, that was offset by gains in public housing, infrastructure and private commercial work.
The recruitment firm Manpower said Tuesday that employers had noted an increasing number of people inquiring about taking part-time second jobs.
"Candidates are also asking us what opportunities there might be for overtime in any assignment they might take on. It is too early to say to what extent this will become a fixture of the labor market," said Mark Cahill, Manpower's managing director.
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On the Net:
http://www.brc.org.uk
http://www.rics.org


Updated : 2021-04-14 01:58 GMT+08:00