It’s easy to see things in a reductive, black or white, good or bad way when it comes to a forecast. However, things are rarely that simple. The aim for a forecaster is to point the general direction of travel, determine the speed of movement in that direction, and then, most importantly, ascertain what the key issues are driving the forecast and the risks around it.
Political speeches from leaders these days rarely make for anything more than some catchy headlines in the press and a general idea of party direction at best, whichever political persuasion you happen to be. The key issue that came out of Ed Miliband’s wonderful/terrible* speech was housing. (*delete depending on your political persuasion).
The media have spent a lot time in the last few weeks talking about UK house prices. I understand why. It’s high profile, especially given the undersupply of housing in key areas and the number of boosts to the housing market that government has given in the last couple of years (FirstBuy, Get Britain Building, Build Now Pay Later, NewBuy, Funding for Lending, Build to Rent, etc.).
If there is one thing that people don’t like, it is finding out that something they thought happened, didn’t actually happen. So, you can imagine the look on my face when the Office for National Statistics published their latest construction output data (for June & Q2) and suddenly the pre-recession peak of construction output had changed from 2008 Q1 to 2004 Q1. Luckily you don’t need to imagine as an artist named Edvard has captured it nicely.