UK House Prices Top Expectations, Retail Sales Disappoint
UK House Prices rose for the first time in six months in April according to a survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The report showed that the number of polled real estate agents reporting price increases exceeded those indicating declines by 17 percent, topping economists’ expectations for a 10 percent result.. RICS spokesman Jeremy Leaf attributed the outcome to “good weather,” claiming the onset of spring was improving sentiment. Meanwihle, UK Retail Sales plunged 2.3 percent from a year ago at stores open for at least12 months in April according to a study by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The report chalked up the outcome to the timing of the Easter holiday, with BRC director general Stephen Robertson arguing that “this April’s trading period only included the last two days of Easter, while last year’s had the entire build-up and holiday weekend.” However, a 3-month average that smoothes out monthly volatility notched its smallest increase in 8 months in April, hinting that there is more to the poor outcome than just a seasonal anomaly. On balance, the drop may reflect broad uncertainty in the run-up to last week’s UK general election as consumers fret about what the incoming government’s approach to reducing the gaping budget deficit will mean for jobs and taxes.
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