POLL: Renewed optimism as car sales, house prices and spending increase
A DERBYSHIRE business leader says there is a feeling of "confidence" that the economy has finally turned the corner after reports show new car sales, retail spending and house prices are up.
George Cowcher, chief executive of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said that, on a local level, businesses were reporting improved domestic sales and orders.
But he warned there was still a long way to go before the economy was "finally out of the woods".
Yesterday, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders released figures showing UK sales of new cars rose for the 12th consecutive month in February. There were 66,749 new registrations in February, a 7.9% rise on the same month last year.
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At the same time, the Halifax Building Society said house prices rose by 0.5% last month, with property values now 1.9% higher than a year ago. The average property now costs £163,600.
Halifax also said housing sales had continued on a "modest upward trend".
Last month, the Derby Telegraph reported that Derby estate agent Hannells had seen an 18.4% in sales, selling 784 homes in 2012.
On Tuesday, figures released by the British Retail Consortium showed that UK retail sales in February grew at their fastest rate in more than three years.
Mr Cowcher said: "Motor, retail and property sales are all important barometers for the economy, so the fact that the picture is steadily improving is welcome news.
"Generally, there is a feeling of renewed optimism and confidence among local businesses that things are starting to turn around, although the economy still remains bumpy and there is a long way to go before we are finally out of the woods."
Last week, Vertu Motors, which owns several car dealerships in Derby, said it had seen a recovery in the UK new car market, with sales up 13.6%, compared to the same period 12 months ago.
Local property expert Chris Brown, of Derby lettings firm Sowter and Brown, said: "In terms of housing, these are positive statistics. But the real question is does the consumer feel more positive now? I believe they have the same concerns as they did 12 months ago. To my mind, this makes any statistics pretty meaningless."
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