Housing equity injection booms

Develeraging continued apace in the final three months of 2011 as homeowners injected equity into properties for the 15th consecutive quarter. The net increase came in at £8.5bn, taking the total since mid-2008 to £113.4bn. Though it may reflect consumers’ desire to pay down debts, it may also indicate reduced market activity. And “the fact that equity withdrawal is no longer happening is a constraint to consumer spending on top of extended elevated inflation, muted wage growth, the fiscal squeeze, high and rising unemployment and elevated debt levels,” said IHS economist Howard Archer.