Friday, December 03, 2004

According to the British mortgage lender Halifax, UK home prices continue to fall.
The UK's biggest mortgage lender said prices dropped 0.4% in November, their second straight monthly drop.

Halifax said house prices had risen 16.8% over the year, down from last month's figure of 18.5%.

The drop in November left the average UK house price at �159,947, the Halifax said.

Last month, the bank said house prices fell 1.1% in October, their biggest monthly decline in four years.
This makes three monthly declines in the last four months. Median prices (SA) are now -1.7% from their peak in September.

In non-seasonally adjusted terms, UK-wide annual home price inflation now stands at 14.3%, down from 22.2% in July. That makes a 7.9% slide in the inflation rate in just 4 months. At the cusp of the popping of the last UK housing bubble, house price inflation dropped from 33.6% in January 1989 to 26.9% four months later -- a decline of 6.7%.

In short, so far the 2004 drop is sharper than the 1989 drop.

Many in Britain now think the Bank of England is going to coming rushing to the aid of the housing bubble in 2005.
Halifax predicted interest rates would decline by 0.5% over the next 12 months to 4.25%, encouraging buyers back into the market.
They're saying the same thing in the US re the Fed.
U.S. Treasury notes rose the most in two months after the economy created fewer jobs than forecast, tempering speculation the Federal Reserve may be poised to accelerate the pace of interest rate increases. . . .

``People still think the Fed will raise rates (this month), but after today's numbers, they are paring expectations on how much the Fed will increase rates next year,'' said Scott Gewirtz, co-head of U.S. Treasury trading at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York.
Have central banks become little more than the enablers of global asset bubbles?

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