London Report: House prices set for high point as market surges

HOUSE prices will be in the spotlight today, as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) house price index is released and the Help To Buy scheme kicks off nationally.

Last month saw a seven-year high for the survey, leading RICS to call on the Bank of England to cap house price inflation at five per cent.

But the start of Help to Buy today – allowing buyers to pay five per cent rather than 25 per cent for a deposit on a house – is likely to see the market pick up steam further.

“We expect the September RICS house price balance to remain unchanged at a seven-year high of 40, confirming the recent pick-up observed in housing activity as indicated by other housing market data from the likes of Nationwide and Halifax,” said Blerina Uruci of Barclays.

Tomorrow the British Retail Council (BRC) releases its UK shop price index.

Wednesday brings a raft of economic data, including UK industrial and manufacturing production figures for August, the Bank of England’s credit conditions survey for the third quarter and trade balance figures for August. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) also gives its estimate for GDP in September.

On Thursday the Bank of England gives its Monetary Policy Committee decision on the bank rate, although analysts expect no change.

“Having in August put in place a commitment not to raise rates or reduce its stock of assets at least until the unemployment rate fell to seven per cent, there will be no change in policy at this meeting (or at any meeting in the foreseeable future),” stated Daiwa Capital Markets Research. “The November Inflation Report will provide an update of the MPC’s latest forecasts and, crucially, an updated unemployment rate forecast.”

On Friday, construction output data for August is set to be released, as well as the CB Leading Economic Index for September.

The corporate calendar this week is light with reports today from Quadrise Fuels International, Waterman Group and Carclo.

Tomorrow Ibex Global Solutions, Victrex and Robert Walters will update the market.

On Wednesday N Brown Group, HgCapital Trust and Greggs will give numbers and on Thursday WH Smith, Air Partner, Ashmore Group and Hays will report. Aeorema Communications and XP Power round off the week with updates on Friday.