The financial position of British households: evidence from the 2008 NMG Research survey

Quarterly Bulletin 2008 Q4
Published on 15 December 2008

By Tomas Hellebrandt and Garry Young of the Bank's Monetary Assessment and Strategy Division and Matt Waldron of the Bank's Structural Economic Analysis Division.

The financial position of British households has been affected by a number of developments over the past year, including sharp fluctuations in food and energy bills, falling house prices and tighter credit conditions. Evidence from the latest survey of households, carried out for the Bank by NMG Research in late September and early October, shows how these and other changes have impacted on household budgets and spending decisions. The typical household reported that the income it had available after meeting household bills had fallen over the past year and that it had saved less than it had expected. Some households had been put off spending by tighter credit conditions, and more households were finding their debts to be a burden than in similar surveys carried out since the mid-1990s. But despite the greater pressures on household finances, only 3% of the households surveyed had so far fallen behind on bill or debt payments. Lower house prices had reduced the housing equity of homeowners.

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