Housing costs push up Jersey cost of living

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The cost of running a home is pushing up inflation in Jersey, according to the latest official data.

The 3.6 per cent  increase in the cost of living on the Channel Island is almost double the UK rate of 1.9 per cent over the past 12 months.

The latest Retail Price Index (RPI) for the year to the end of March showed an early indicator measuring that the official inflation rate was up - with housing and household services being the biggest movers.

The index showed the cost of housing increased by 4.9 per cent over the year. The category covers the cost of buying or renting a home, plus household insurance, water charges and parish rates.

Household services, such as telephone bills, postal charges and school costs, rose even higher at 6.2 per cent.

Leisure spending, such as holidays, TV licences and recreational activities jumped 6.8 per cent.

“Price increases were seen across the group, which includes house purchase costs, rents, dwelling insurance, water charges (which increased in April 2018), and islandwide parish rates, which rose in September 2018,” said the inflation report.

“The key drivers were rents in both the public and private sectors, and the increased cost of house purchases. The latter was due to higher mortgage interest payments following the increase in the Bank of England base rate in August 2018.”

Jersey inflation has dropped from a high of 4.5 per cent, but Assistant Treasury Minister Lindsay Ash explained the States has few tools to combat what happens to the cost of living.

“There is a lack of supply of housing and if we suddenly had 10,000 houses built, then the pressure would come down,” he said. “It is a question of planning, resources, financing – a number of factors. It is not just a click-your-finger exercise and it will all be sorted,” he said.

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