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Notice how this corresponds to rising public sector deficits as counter cyclical fiscal policy does its thing:
UK Households Step Up Debt Repayments as Recession Deepens
Britons increased the equity in their homes at the fastest pace on record as the recession encouraged households to pay down existing mortgages rather than take out new ones. Individuals injected a net 8 bln pounds ($11.5 bln) into housing equity in the three months through December, the most since records began in 1970, the Bank of England said in London today. The credit crunch and falling house prices are making it harder to borrow against the value of housing. Concerns about job losses are also making homeowners reluctant to add to their 1.5 trillion pounds of debt as they endure the economyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s worst contraction since 1980.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThis is further evidence that households are retrenching sharply, sensibly paring down debt in the face of the credit crunch and fears about unemployment,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Colin Ellis, an economist at Daiwa Securities SMBC Europe Ltd., said in a note. Mortgage equity provided a key source of consumer finance for a decade as Britons used a property boom to finance everything from new furniture to vacations. After tripling in a decade, house prices fell an annual 17.7 % in February, Lloyds Banking Group PlcÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Halifax division said.