On continuing my yesterday’s post, I suggest that now the dynamics of the house prices in the UK will be very important for the Bank of England.
In December, the consumer inflation report showed that the CPI fell below a four-year low to 2.0% y/y from 2.1% y/y in November. It would be interesting to note that consumer prices fell even despite a significant increase in gas and electricity prices in December. But for this factor, the CPI could have sunk even lower.
Anyway, after years of struggle against high inflation, the Bank of England finally managed to reach the target level of 2.0%. Now we shouldn’t worry about consumer price inflation as before. Meanwhile, another type of inflation is moved into the foreground – the house prices inflation, which was not lowered yet.
In fact, the overall inflation situation in the country allows the central bank not to hurry with ending the ultra-soft monetary policy. The only threat that may put these plans into question is a quick house price growth. According to the National Statistics report, the house price growth is much higher than the general consumer price inflation. In November, the house price growth came out at 5.4% y/y and gave rise to speculations on the real estate bubble in the UK.
The Bank of England, of course, would prefer to avoid the housing bubble. The Central Bank has already stated that it will pay special attention to the housing market and will be ready to take action against its overheating. However, a premature tightening of monetary policy is also undesirable. So, even if the real estate prices continue their growth, Mervyn King and his colleagues will try to avoid raising the key interest rate and will first reduce mortgage lending. However, if these measures are insufficient, the question of raising the interest rate will still be considered.
All in all, follow the house prices in the UK!