UK housing market remains in the doldrums — survey

Britain’s housing market has cooled since the 2016 Brexit vote which led to a rise in overall inflation and increased uncertainty among investors. (Reuters)
Updated 12 July 2018
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UK housing market remains in the doldrums — survey

LONDON: British house prices remained flat in June and the market was likely to stay sluggish in the coming months despite more properties being put up for sale, a surveyors group said on Thursday.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) house price balance rose to +2 from -2 in May.
A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a fall of -3 in June but RICS said the overall picture remained one of flat price growth and respondents taking part in the survey did not anticipate much change in the coming three months.
Britain’s housing market has cooled since the 2016 Brexit vote which led to a rise in overall inflation and increased uncertainty among investors.
“For the second month in a row, new instructions have risen, with 10 percent more respondents seeing an increase in the flow of properties being put up for sale,” RICS said.
“However, with average stocks remaining close to historic lows at 43 it would be too early to suggest that this issue is lessening as an obstacle.”
Looking further ahead, London’s housing market was likely to remain a weak spot — prices were not expected to rise in the capital and the neighboring south east region, in contrast to much of the rest of the country.


Filipino remittances from the Middle East down 15.3% in 2018

Updated 9 min 44 sec ago
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Filipino remittances from the Middle East down 15.3% in 2018

  • Cash remittances from OFWs in Saudi Arabia fell 11.1 percent last year to $2.23 billion from $2.51 billion previously
  • Personal remittances are a major driver of domestic consumption

DUBAI: Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East went down 15.3 percent to $6.62 billion in 2018 from $7.81 billion a year earlier, latest government data shows.
Lower crude prices, which affected most OFW host countries in the region, the job nationalization schemes of Gulf states and a deployment ban last year of household service workers to Kuwait were the primary reasons for the decline, a reversal from the 3.4 percent remittance growth recorded in 2017.
A government study has noted that Saudi Arabia was the leading country of destination for OFWs, with more than a quarter of Filipinos being deployed there at any given time, together with the United Arab Emirates (15.3 percent), Kuwait (6.7 percent) and Qatar (5.5 percent).
Cash remittances from OFWs in Saudi Arabia fell 11.1 percent last year to $2.23 billion from $2.51 billion a year before; down 19.9 percent to $2.03 billion in the UAE from $2.54 billion in 2017; 14.5 percent lower in Kuwait to $689.61 million from $806.48 million and 9.2 percent down in Qatar to $1 billion in 2018, from $1.1 billion a year earlier.
The Philippine government issued a deployment ban for Kuwait early last year, and lasted for five months, after a string of reported deaths and abuses on Filipino workers in the Gulf state.
OFW remittances from Oman, which implemented a job nationalization program like that of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, dove 33.8 percent to $228.74 million in 2018 from $345.41 million a year before. In Bahrain, cash sent by Filipinos rose 2.2 percent to $234.14 million last year from $229.02 million previously.
Meanwhile, overall OFW remittances grew 3 percent year-on-year to $32.2 billion, the highest annual level to date.
“The growth in personal remittances during the year was driven by remittance inflows from land-based OFs with work contracts of one year or more and remittances from both sea-based and land-based OFs with work contracts of less than one year,” the Philippine central monetary authority said.
Personal remittances are a major driver of domestic consumption and in 2018 accounted for 9.7 percent of the Philippines’ gross domestic product.