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  • The latest data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) confirm that the UK economy increased by 0.8% between Q4 2013 and Q1 2014, leaving GDP during the first quarter 3.0% up on a year ago. Economic growth has been supported by higher consumer spending and increased investment. 
    • Household consumption during the first quarter rise by 0.8% to stand 2.2% up on a year ago.
    • Fixed investment increased by 2.4% against the preceding quarter and was 9.7% up on a year ago.
    • The rise in fixed investment was driven by a 10.6% year on year rise in business investment and a 13.2% increase in private investment in dwellings. 
  • Retail sales volumes remain on an upward trend, according to ONS data. The quantity bought in May was 3.9% up on a year earlier, despite a small 0.5% drop compared with April. Sales volumes during the three months to May 2014 were 1.3% up on a year ago, the fifteenth consecutive monthly increase. The internet continues to account for a growing share of retail sales; the amount spent online increased by 15.1% in May 2014 compared with May 2013 and by 1.5% compared with April 2014.


  • The ONS recorded a 9.9% rise in UK house prices in the year to Aril 2014, up from 8.0% in the year to March 2014. House prices are increasing strongly across most parts of the UK, with prices in London again showing the highest growth (18.7%). Prices in the south east and East of England rose by 8.9% and 8.5% respectively.
  • The Land Registry has reported a similar regional divergence in house price inflation with prices were up by 18.5% year-on-year in London in May, but only rose by 0.9% in the North East of England and 1.3% in the North West. On average house prices in England & Wales were 6.7% higher in May than a year ago. 
  • The Bank of England has announced plans to limit the number of mortgage advances made at high loan to income ratios of 4.5 or more. It is proposed that from October lenders will not be able to extend more than 15% of their total number of new residential mortgages at these high ratios.

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