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U.K. Home-Price Gauge at 18-Year High on Post-Lockdown Boom

Eileen Gbagbo
·2 mins read

(Bloomberg) -- A closely watched gauge of U.K. house-price growth surged to the highest in almost two decades last month amid a post-lockdown property boom.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ measure of price movements over the past three months climbed to the highest since 2002 in September. New listings, inquiries and agreed sales all posted gains.

However, its survey found real estate agents expect a bleaker picture in the longer term. The recent winding down of the government’s furlough program is widely anticipated to push unemployment up, and the end of a temporary cut in tax on home purchases may weigh heavily on activity.

“There is increasing concern that the combination of significant job losses over the coming month allied to the scaling back of policy initiatives in early 2021 will have an adverse impact,” said RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson signaled more support for the market this week, with a promise of more generous home loans for millions of first-time buyers. Yet the market is also vulnerable to more virus restrictions as infections start to rise again.

For young Britons, housing insecurity is already rising. According to a separate report by the Resolution Foundation, one in seven people under 30 have missed a rent or mortgage payment since the Covid-19 pandemic began and are risking eviction.

More Hiring

There was encouraging news on the labor market in a report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG, which showed hiring rising at the fastest pace in almost two years last month and job vacancies up for the first time since February.

“Given the scale of falls in demand during the lockdown, we would expect a return to positive territory at this stage as demand for staff recovers,” said Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC. “But it is great to see it happen.”

The outlier was London, where staff appointments declined, according to the survey published Thursday. Across the country, job cuts led to a sharp increase in the number of candidates for roles, dampening pay trends for both permanent and temporary workers.

(Adds REC jobs report starting in seventh paragraph)

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