Consumer confidence falls

Worries over the economy, jobs and falling house prices have led to a fall in consumer confidence, according to Nationwide.

The lender published details of its key indices relating to consumer confidence, present situations, spending and expenditure, with the latter the only one not recording a fall.

Nationwide’s comments suggested falling confidence was affecting the decisions of people who might want to buy a house in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

It said 11 per cent of consumers feel sufficient confidence to make a big purchase, such as a house or a car – the corresponding figure for the same time last year was 23 per cent.

"The continued downward trend in consumer confidence is to be expected given the effect of higher food and fuel costs on people’s pockets and the tightening of the availability of credit," said Nationwide’s senior economist Martin Gahbauer.

Some experts say recent interest rate cuts will go some way to restoring consumer confidence; however eight financial institutions polled by news provider Adfero predicted there will not be a further cut in March, in news that may interest those looking to sell a house in Scotland or the rest of the UK.