The lower readings on inflation are feeding through into people's short-term expectations for the cost of living and Bank Rate.
The median expectation for the rate of [consumer price] inflation over the coming year was 1.9%, compared with 2.5% in November, according to the Bank of England's/GfK NOP Inflation Attitudes survey.
Asked about expected inflation in the 12 months after that, respondents gave a median answer of 2.1%, compared with 2.5% in November, the survey results showed.
Rise in interest rates off the cards for now
Commenting on the above data, Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director of Economics said it is "unlikely" that prices will continue falling for a prolonged period, although "a rise in interest rates anytime soon seems off the cards".
Newton-Smith also pointed out how, "While lower oil prices are keeping costs down for businesses and consumers, the North Sea oil companies are suffering, harming jobs and investment in the industry. As an immediate step, the Government should announce a commitment to cut back the Supplementary Charge to 20% in the Budget."
More people expect Bank Rate to stay low
When asked about the future path of interest rates, 39% said rates might stay about the same over the next 12 months, up from 37% in November. The proportion of respondents who now expect rates to rise over the next 12 months dipped to 36%, down from 37% in November.
Respondents were asked to assess the way the Bank of England is 'doing its job to set interest rates to control inflation'. The net satisfaction balance - the proportion satisfied minus the proportion dissatisfied - was +35%, compared with +29% in November.
GfK NOP interviewed two quota samples of people aged 16 and over in 175 randomly selected output areas throughout the UK; 2094 people between 5 and 10 February and 2018 people between 12 and 17 February. The raw data was weighted to match the demographic profile of the UK as a whole.
The Government's Help to Buy scheme has helped 88,420 people buy a new home since its launch in April 2013, with the majority of beneficiaries being first-time buyers. Around 80% of scheme completions (66,661) were by first-time buyers and 94% were outside London, showing that the support is largely going to where it's needed. The figures, revealed in the latest update from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), also show that the average price of home bought through the scheme stands at just Â£185,000, well below the national average. Over half of all sales were for new build homes, which has helped fuel the sharp rise in housebuilding over the last year, it said in a statement.
The average property has risen in price by £12,000 over the past year but increases in 2015 are likely to be far more modest, according to Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight.
“We suspect that housing market activity is now gradually turning around after losing appreciable momentum from the early-2014 peak levels, and we see activity it picking up modestly as 2015 progresses,” he said. “ Consequently, we expect house prices to rise around 5% in 2015.”
While many commentators concur with Archer’s view about modest growth this year, mortgage lenders warned today that the first-time buyer market could go into decline in 2016 if the government fails to replace its help-to-buy mortgage guarantee scheme.
The scheme, which offers banks and building societies a government guarantee on mortgages of up to 95% loan to value (LTV) on existing properties, was launched in late 2013 as part of a series of measures to kickstart the housing market. But it is scheduled to end in 2016.
The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), which represents firms that market their products through brokers and advisers, said 65% of its members believed competition would fall unless a permanent indemnity scheme was brought in to replace help-to-buy 2.
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The quarterly rate of UK house price growth firmed up for a second consecutive month in February as a result of increases in real earnings and spending power, the results of a widely-followed sector survey showed.
The average home prices dipped by 0.3% month-on-month to reach £192,372 according to mortgage lender Halifax, although the year-on-year pace of change cooled to 8.3% from a reading of 8.5% in the month before.
Over the three months to February they gained 2.6%, up from the 1.8% rise seen in the three months to January.
Commenting on the data Martin Ellis, housing economist, said: "The firming in price growth shown by the recent pick-up in the three month-on-three month comparison and indications of a modest rise in activity are likely to be due to a boost to housing demand as a result of increases in real earnings and spending power, further recent falls in mortgage rates and stamp duty changes.
"The supply of both new and second-hand homes available for sale remains low; another factor that is likely to be supporting house prices. Supply remains tight despite house-building in England increasing for the second consecutive year in 2014 and a recent rise in the number of properties coming on to the market."
Economists had pencilled in a drop of 0.3% on the month and a gain of 8.5% on the year.
Datafeed and UK data supplied by NBTrader and Digital Look.
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