House prices drop and retail sales growth slows

Published:  11 August, 2010

LONDON: House prices fell last month and retail sales growth slowed abruptly according to two surveys released today suggesting the UK recovery is faltering.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' house price balance fell to -8 in the three months to July, the first negative reading in a year, from a downwardly revised +8 in the three months to June.

The new buyer enquiries balance fell for the second straight month while property coming on the market increased at its fastest pace since May 2007, leaving surveyors braced for further weakness in the coming months.

A survey from the British Retail Consortium showed the value of sales last month was 0.5% higher than a year ago on a like-for-like basis, less than half the 1.2% growth recorded in June.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC said: "The overriding factor is consumer confidence – it has fallen recently. Talk of public spending cuts is unsettling customers and they are concentrating on essentials."

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