News | Published April 17 2019

Pressure eased on Bank of England to increase interest rates following house price growth and inflation revelations

The Bank of England has received a boost as the Office for National Statistics announced a six- year low in house price growth today, coinciding with a stable 1.9 per cent rate of inflation.

In February 2019, house prices rose at the slowest rate seen since September 2012, alongside a 3.8 per cent fall in house prices in London, the largest seen in the capital since 2009.

The figures are thought to be the culmination of a housing price slump that has taken shape over the last two years.

As of February 2019, the average UK house price stood at £226,000, just £1,000 higher than in the previous year.

The 1.9 per cent rate of inflation recorded in March 2019 falls just below the two per cent targeted by the Bank of England and predicted by economists.

This comes after reduced food prices coincided with a rise in the price of fuel, according to the ONS Head of Inflation, Mike Hardie.

“Inflation is stable, with motor fuel prices rising between February and March this year, offset by falls in food prices,” Hardie said.

Initiatives from policymakers intended to reduce riskier mortgage lending have made their mark on the figures, but the impact of uncertainty over Brexit on London's housing market cannot be underestimated, according to senior Hargreaves Lansdown economist, Ben Brettell.

“Clearly uncertainty over Brexit will have played a large part in the capital’s faltering housing market,” Brettell told the BBC.

However, the news will be positive for both consumers and the Bank of England itself as its Monetary Policy Committee is set to convene in May to discuss rates amidst continued Brexit uncertainty.

In spite of this, the Bank of England has warned that the economic outlook will "continue to depend on the nature and timing of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union".

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
April 17 2019

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