The UK economy has emerged from the second wave of the virus with limited short term damage. GDP contracted by 1.5% over the first quarter, less than feared at the onset of the third lockdown. Even better, high frequency indicators are pointing towards a brighter outlook. All 12 regions reported growth in April with Northern Ireland posting its first month of private sector expansion since last September. Local firms are the most optimistic about the year ahead since the pandemic struck.Continue reading
It’s less than the first but there’s no masking the impact the second lockdown had on the UK economy. It sent more workers back to furlough, car sales plunging, job postings stalling and footfall dipping. But an earlier than expected arrival of a vaccine could help galvanise the recovery not too far into the New Year, well hopefully!Continue reading
Like the labour market, Northern Ireland’s housing market has been one of the best performing parts of the local economy. One key difference, however, is the housing market hasn’t captured the record highs and lows that the labour market has enjoyed. Following the most significant property downturn in UK history, the scars are still apparent in the various aspects of the housing market. While many of the indicators point to significant growth over the past decade, the story is one of recovery has opposed to recovered.
Up – prices still rising albeit at a weaker rate
The latest batch of housing market statistics reveal that the recovery has succumbed to a slowdown. Property prices are the housing market statistic of choice for small talk at dinner parties. For the past seven years the chat has been of continued house price growth. However, the latest figures from NISRA reveal that the pace of growth eased to 2.5% y/y in Q4 2019. That’s less than halve the pace of growth recorded the previous year and marks the slowest rate of house price growth since Q4 2013. Nevertheless, the rise in local property prices still compares favourably with the UK (+1.6%) and the Republic of Ireland (+1.0%).Continue reading
Latest UK data points to a rebound in Q2 GDP after a lacklustre Q1.
After the sobering downgrade to our prospects for productivity growth comes the scramble for solutions. The new industrial strategy, if fulfilled, is a good place to start.
“Global growth remains strong.” That was key judgement number one underpinning the Bank of England’s forecast in the most recent Inflation Report. The Eurozone has been at the heart of the improvement to the global economy over the past 12 months and, in turn, that’s been supportive to the UK. Can it all continue? Continue reading
Around 10 years ago, the housing market was undoubtedly Northern Ireland’s big economic story. Today, it is much further from the headlines but beneath the surface there has been a very significant economic tale unfolding.
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.
It’s perhaps tempting fate to say that we’ve never had it so good when it comes to the performance of the job market but things certainly haven’t been so strong for decades. Continue reading
This year will mark the tenth anniversary of Northern Ireland’s house price peak which heralded the start of a sustained period of collateral damage for the wider economy and not just the housing market. Residential property prices peaked in Q3 2007 and subsequently troughed in Q1 2013, down a whopping 57% some 5½ years later. Since then the housing market has been in recovery mode with three successive years of house price growth. For many homeowners the last ten years has represented a lost decade with aspirations blighted by negative equity. However, the combination of house price growth and time (assuming repayments) has seen the incidence of negative equity recede.