LONDON – British consumer sentiment rose last month to its highest level since April 2016, bolstered by expectations of greater job security and rising house prices, polling company YouGov said on Monday.
The YouGov/Cebr figures add to signs of a rapid rebound in Britain’s economy in the second quarter when lockdown restrictions in place since the start of the year eased for many retailers, pubs and restaurants.
“Undeterred by the unusually wet weather last month, UK consumers have clearly made the most of their newfound freedoms and spent freely in shops and the hospitality sector,” said Kay Neufeld, head of forecasting at economic consultants Cebr.
Economists polled by Reuters expect on average that April gross domestic product data due on Friday will show a 2.2% rise from March and will be a massive 27.6% higher than a year earlier, when Britain was in the depths of its first lockdown.
The biggest contribution to the increase in the YouGov/Cebr index came from components measuring house prices and expected job security.
Mortgage lender Halifax reported earlier on Monday that house prices last month were 9.5% above their level a year earlier, the biggest increase in nearly seven years.
Business surveys also point to a sharp bounce back.
But the picture is more muted from Britain’s longest-running survey of consumer sentiment, which does not ask about house prices and places a greater weight on households’ experience over the past year. This measure, published by GfK, shows sentiment back at roughly its pre-pandemic level in April.