UK house prices show first annual decline in eight years

UK house prices last month fell for the first time in eight years, a key building society survey said, as the property market makes an uncertain return to business after lockdown.

Nationwide’s house price index showed prices in June were down 0.1 per cent year-on-year, after increasing 1.8 per cent the previous month, in the first decline since December 2012.

Prices for homes in the UK fell by 1.4 per cent month-on-month, taking into account seasonal changes, after a fall of 1.7 per cent the previous month. House prices in June were 3.2 per cent lower than in April.

The building society’s chief economist said stalling house price growth was “unsurprising” given the pandemic’s shock to the economy, which has forced viewings and transactions to freeze.

“While latest data from HMRC showed a slight pick-up in residential property transactions from April’s low, in May they were still 50 per cent

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Prices are rising faster than official figures suggest

The coronavirus crisis has led the Office for National Statistics to understate the speed prices are rising, according to a growing body of research during the pandemic.

Research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has claimed that the Office for National Statistics’s measures of annual price increases were 0.4 percentage points too low in May because they put too much weight on goods and services that were unavailable because of Covid-19, dragging the inflation rate down.

The ONS reported that the Bank of England’s target measure of CPI inflation fell to 0.5 per cent in May and a wider measure including homeowners’ housing costs was 0.7 per cent, but these were significant under estimates according to professor Huw Dixon of Cardiff University.

“A lot of people think there’s quite a bit more inflation going on at the moment and I think they’re correct,” he said, explaining the

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Oil prices slides as U.S. crude stockpile growth heightens oversupply fears

Oil pumping jacks, also known as “nodding donkeys”, operate in an oilfield near Almetyevsk, Tatarstan, Russia, on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil futures dropped on Wednesday, extending losses from the previous day, after U.S. crude stockpiles grew more than expected, adding to worries about oversupply.

Brent crude was down 29 cents, or 0.7%, at $42.34 a barrel by 0335 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 35 cents, or 0.9%, to $40.02 a barrel.

U.S. crude inventories rose by a much bigger than expected 1.7 million barrels last week, according to industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API), well ahead of analysts’ expectations for a 300,000-barrel build.

However, U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories fell, the data showed, feeding optimism that fuel consumption is picking up as some economies ease lockdowns imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. government data will

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‘Few significant changes to shop prices’ but inflation still sinks to four-year low | Business News

The rate of inflation has tumbled to its lowest level since 2016 despite official figures suggesting shop prices remained relatively stable during the COVID-19 lockdown last month.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure fell to 0.5% in May from an annual rate of 0.8% the previous month.

The rate had stood at 1.5% in March, when efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus began in earnest.

The easing is welcome for UK household budgets, at a time when jobs and wage growth are under significant pressure amid the economic slump resulting from the lockdown.

Figures released on Tuesday by the ONS suggested more than 600,000 people had lost their jobs during April and May despite government support schemes for both businesses and wages.

The number crunchers said the main downward contribution to inflation in May came from motor fuels following a record drop

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