No one is calling them “green shoots” (that would be silly) but there are reasons to be cheerful out there (or at least less miserable) if you look for them.
House prices registered an increase of just under 1% in March on the Nationwide survey. Admittedly they showed a fall of 1.9% on the Halifax survey but most agree that the rate of decline is now flattening out. Certainly the number of new loans for house purchases increased from 32,000 in January to 38,000 in February against a low point of 27,000 in November 2008 according to the Bank of England.
The GfK/NOP survey of consumer confidence, which measures the public’s perceptions about the general economy and their own personal finances, stood at minus 30 in March. Not much to write home about you might think but it was minus 37 in January and minus 39 last July.
Also the Purchasing Manager’s Index (a measure of manufacturing conditions) was 39.1 last month – its highest level since October 2008. Anything less than 50 indicates that UK manufacturing is contracting so it isn’t exactly time to breathe a sigh of relief but at least it is heading in the right direction.
Meanwhile locally, Brighton & Hove is bucking a number of trends that suggest we are not as badly affected as other locations in the UK (see earlier story).
Figures from the Association of British Travel Agents shows bookings to the Eurozone are down 15% on a year ago and market research group GFK Ascent MI says sales of foreign holidays overall are down 12% on a year ago. If people aren’t going abroad for summer where better to spend a long-weekend break than the city-by-the-sea?
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