Services grew by 0.2% and was the main contributor to February's growth in GDP; this was partially offset by production, which fell by 0.6% and construction, which fell by 0.1%. The services growth in February 2022 was mainly driven by tourism-related industries with increases in both travel agency, tour operator and other reservation service and related activities (growing 33.1% on the month), and accommodation (growing 23% on the month). Despite the fall compared to January, monthly GDP remains 1.5% above its pandemic levels in February 2020.
As an affordable housing option, shared ownership is growing but it does not have enough consumer awareness and understanding. Shared ownership currently accounts for around 2% of housing stock but housing associations are building more of these homes. The government has pledged funding for up to 90,000 new shared ownership properties in the next five years. It is also anticipated that more lenders will offer shared ownership mortgages and brokers should be prepared for a rise in enquiries.
Mortgage approvals for house purchases fell slightly to 71,000 in February, from 73,800 in January, according to the latest Money and Credit statistics from the Bank of England. However, approvals remain above the 12-month pre-pandemic average up to February 2020 of 66,700.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey confirmed that the Government remains committed to the state pension triple lock for the rest of this Parliament. This comes after the Government temporarily moved to a ‘double lock’ of the higher of price inflation or 2.5%, excluding earnings inflation from the April 2022 increase, because of pandemic related distortions in national average earnings.
The latest figures from the ONS show that on a monthly basis, CPI rose by 0.8% in February, compared with a rise of 0.1% in February 2021. This was the largest monthly CPI increase between January and February since 2009. CPIH inflation, which includes owner occupiers’ housing costs, rose by 5.5% in the 12 months to February, up from 4.9% in the 12 months to January. Recreation and culture, clothing, furniture and household goods and food and drink were among the categories seeing the highest price rises.