A raft of data emerged from the Department for the Economy today. The most significant release was the Quarterly Employee Survey (QES) for Q2 2017 -a comprehensive survey of the actual number of jobs in the economy. This is more closely watched than the Labour Force Survey which looks at people working in some shape or form (paid, unpaid, self-employed, voluntary etc). Continue reading
The Chancellor would happily swap the UK’s current annual economic growth rate with its inflation rate. While GDP growth remains sluggish and below the rates being experienced in most other EU countries, the converse is true for inflation. Continue reading
10 years ago Northern Ireland’s housing boom was turning to bust. Back then the focus was on residential property price falls and the collapse in house building. Another less closely watched indicator, rates of home ownership, also plummeted. This trend was accompanied by a corresponding boom in the private rented sector which has more than doubled between 2006-2016.
We have all heard Chancellors past and present wax lyrical about the deficit. This of course was referring to the UK’s national deficit – the difference between spending and revenue. But how are the deficits faring at a regional level? Continue reading
As far as economic growth is concerned, the Northern Ireland economy ended 2016 with a bang. Continue reading
During the three months to February 2017, Northern Ireland’s unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 5.2% (UK = 4.7%). This represents the lowest unemployment rate since the period September – November 2008. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s youth unemployment rate (18-24yrs of age) dipped below the 13% mark for the first time in 7 years. At 12.9% (UK = 10.4%), this is almost half the rate that prevailed at the peak in Q3 2013. Surely, cause for celebration? Continue reading
The annual rate of UK CPI inflation remained unchanged in March at 2.3%. However, this headline conceals different trends within goods and services. Continue reading
Northern Ireland’s tourism industry has been breaking records across a range of performance indicators in recent years. 2016 witnessed a hotel room boom and this trend looks set to continue in 2017. Last year the local hotelier industry breached the 2 million mark for room sales for the first time.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of Northern Ireland’s house price peak (and subsequent correction), we’ve been seeing some encouraging signs in the mortgage market.
2016 saw Northern Ireland notch up its fifth consecutive year of mortgage growth. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) there were 13,800 loans advanced for house purchase. This represented a rise of over 5% year-on-year, with last year’s total representing the most mortgages advanced since 2007.
Despite a rise of 80 percent since 2008 though, mortgage volumes in Northern Ireland are still only half of what they were a decade ago.
The number of first-time buyers in Northern Ireland hit a 10-year high last year (8,000). However, this is still over 10,000 fewer than 2001’s peak.
The recovery in the mortgage market has been more marked within the First-Time Buyer (FTB) segment than the Home Mover market. The latter’s recovery has been somewhat disappointing.
In 2016, there were only 5,800 mortgages advanced in the Home Mover market; this was just 1/3rd of the volume of activity in 2006 and on a par with 1980/81. Lack of supply of certain property types and the legacy of negative equity are hampering this market.
House building is on the rise and people are gradually paying off their debt. But the legacy of what happened 10 years ago will continue to be felt for some time to come.
2016 was another record breaking year for global car sales. Over 88 million cars and light commercial vehicles were sold last year, an annual increase of almost 5%. Continue reading