Sunday, April 30, 2006
The beginning of the end for cheap money?
Telegraph - Global tightening will rein in the bulls
China raised interest rates last week. Indeed, around the world, rates and bond yields have been rising. Is this the beginning of the end of the global splurge of liquidity? If so, what are the implications for financial markets?
The debt crisis deepens
Telegraph - Bankruptcies soar to new peak
A potent combination of Britain's £1 trillion debt mountain and a relaxation of the bankruptcy laws is forecast to drive a record 100,000 people to go insolvent this year. Mark Sands, the head of personal insolvency at KPMG, said: "Bankruptcy is becoming a lifestyle option for many people to escape their debts."
Why are banks sneaking up the cost of a mortgage?
This is Money - The great mortgage gamble
Over the past month, many lenders have begun to ratchet two and three-year fixed rates up again slightly, as their cost of borrowing on the money markets rises
Will oil pass the $100 a barrel mark
Observer - New oil shock ahead as $100 spike looms
The growing international crisis over Iran's nuclear programme could trigger a catastrophic oil price spike, sending crude prices over $100 a barrel, senior Wall Street analysts are warning.
Vote of confidence in Barclays mortgages
Times - Barclays bosses take out mortgages with rivals
John Varley, the bank's chief executive, mortgaged his London town house with HSBC last year, shortly after being promoted to the top job at Barclays. The bank's finance director and deputy chairman have also chosen against taking out mortgages with Barclays, in favour of home loans from Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Are FTBs too deep in debt?
Independent - First-timers are deep in debt even before they buy a home
Nearly half of first-time buyers owe at least £8,000 by the time they start looking for a property, according to a new report from one of the UK's biggest mortgage lenders published today.
Buyers close in on Estonia!
Independent - Estonia becomes the world's housing hotspot
Housing markets across the world have gone through a slowdown over the past year that has seen fringe countries overtake their bigger neighbours in the global league table, new figures showed today.
Fancy living near a pylon ... think again.
Telegraph - Pylon cancer fears put £7bn blight on house prices
Up to £7 billion will be wiped off property values if the Government accepts the advice of experts that homes should no longer be built near overhead power lines because of possible links with childhood leukaemia.
Is FTB aid scheme effective?
Times - Questions raised over £1bn scheme to help buyers
A survey of first-time buyers has raised doubts about the effectiveness of a government scheme to help young people buy their first home.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Fife - 36% annual increase in average house price
Guardian: Scottish property sizzles
The town of Cupar in Fife has been the UK's property hotspot over the past year, with average property prices rising by 36%, figures showed today.
New Zealand keeps rates on hold at 7.25%
Reserve Bank of New Zealand: OCR unchanged at 7.25 per cent
Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said: "Data since our March Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) indicate that, while the economy has weakened faster than expected, short-term inflation pressures have intensified."
GDP figures in US point to more rate rises
BBC News: Big growth spurt for US economy
The US economy roared ahead in the first quarter of 2006, growing at its fastest rate in two and a half years, according to the Commerce Department.
Surprise rate hike by BoE next week?
Interactive Investor: BoE should consider preemptive rate hike next week - NIESR
There is a "strong case" for the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee to surprise the market with a preemptive interest rate hike when it meets next week in order to counter rising inflation expectations, a leading UK think-tank said.
Affordable Housing 'A Human Right'
Sky News: Cheap Homes 'A Right'
Affordable housing should be a basic human right for everyone in the European Union, an all-party report of MEPs believes.
Dollar falls after Bernanke speech
FT.com: Bernanke hint on US rate pause dents dollar
The dollar fell to seven-month lows against the euro on Thursday after Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, prepared the markets for a halt in the US rate-tightening cycle that began in June 2004.
Bernanke to pause on rate rises...but not for long
BBC News: Inflation fears cloud US growth
US economic growth should slow to a more sustainable pace this year, but high energy prices still threaten inflation, the US Fed chief has said.
Japan to raise interest rate?
BBC News: Japan boosted by consumer data
Japan is showing signs of economic recovery that could pave the way for an interest rate hike in coming months.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
German growth expected to increase
BBC News: German economy 'to grow by 1.8%'
Leading German economists have upped their prediction for German growth for 2006 to 1.8% from their previous 1.2%.
Mortgages go through the roof
This is Money: Mortgages to break £1 trillion barrier
The value of homeloans in the UK will burst through the £1 trillion barrier early next month.
Lending rate raised in China
Yahoo! News: China raises lending rate to slow booming economy
China raised interest rates on Thursday for the first time in 18 months in what economists said was an attempt to slow a boom in credit and investment growth.
Interest rate cut in UK not on the cards
Reuters: Bank's Barker - No pressing need for rate cut
There does not seem to be a pressing need for the Bank of England to cut interest rates, Monetary Policy Committee member Kate Barker was quoted as saying on Thursday.
What are the real reasons behind high oil prices?
Guardian: Fuelling the uncertainty
An interesting article which questions the reasons that we are given for current record high oil prices.
FX market reacts to bleak house price data
Reuters: Sterling hits 3-wk low vs euro after housing data
Sterling hit a 3-week low against a strong euro and held steady against the dollar after data showed British house prices barely budged in April following a jump in March.
Housing market grew by just 0.1% in April
Times: Housing market recovery stallsMoney extra: April showers cool house pricesSky News: Property Prices StaticBBC News: Growth in UK house prices 'cools'Reuters: House prices barely budge in April
Hopes for a sustained recovery in the housing market have suffered a setback after one of the country's top mortgage lenders gave warning that price growth slowed sharply in April and annual property price inflation is now back below 5 per cent.
Beginning of the end for estate agents?
BBC News: Asda set to start selling houses
People choosing to sell their homes through Asda will pay lower than average estate agency fees and receive a free Home Information Pack (HIP).
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Average cost for diesel is now 98.71
Sky News: Diesel Petrol Price Hits All-Time High
The cost of a litre of diesel has hit an all-time high. The average cost of a litre of diesel is 98.71 against 98.6 on September 14, 2005, according to the AA Motoring Trust's figures.
Pru jobs go to India
BBC News: Jobs at risk in Prudential revamp
Prudential has announced that it is to close its sites in Belfast, Bristol and Holborn Bars in London.
Motley Fool educates the masses about interest rates
Motley Fool: Mortgage Interest Rates
Interest rates are probably the most important part about buying a house. After all, your aim is borrow the money you need for the least possible cost, so you need to assess which type of interest rate is best for your particular circumstances.
Bank of Canada raises interest rates to 4%
Canada.com: Bank of Canada hikes interest rates again
The Bank of Canada has increased interest rates for the 3rd time this year and economists expect another two increases to bring them to 4.5%
Retirement house builder sees fall in profits
Independent: McCarthy & Stone profits fall 20%
McCarthy & Stone, the retirement home builder, unveiled a 20 per cent drop in first-half profits yesterday, blaming a rise in building costs and land prices for its poor performance.
Buy to let still strong
Mortgage Introducer: Paragon reveals healthy BTL market
Paragon Mortgages Buy-to-Let (BTL) Index has revealed the market remains strong, despite a drop in property prices paid by landlords during March.
Credit card spending set to double
Moneyextra: Credit card spending to soar on DIY spring fever
Overall credit card spending is set to double from £645 to £1,225 over the next three months with spending on the home and car likely to fuel this increase, according to the latest figures from the Morgan Stanley Card Index.
Cost of fixed rate mortgages on the rise
Telegraph: Fixed-rate home loans are going up
Mortgage lenders are increasing the cost of fixed-rate mortgages following a rise in "swap" rates - the price at which they buy funds in the money market to underpin the deals.
Annual rate of growth up to 2.2%
BBC News: UK economy records strong growthReuters: UK growth steady in Q1 as expected
Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.6% a steady in the first three months of the year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Better off renting
MSN Money: When renting is a better idea
The continuing positive propaganda about buying a home can be so incessant that it can be hard to accept there are times when renting a property is a better option than buying one.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
HIPs will be bad for mortgage industry
IFAonline: Hips will lead mortgage industry into decline - IMLA
Almost half of brokers believe that, even after the initial distortion caused by the introduction of Home information packs (Hip) wears off, there will be a long-term decline in property transactions, research from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) states
Bush on the oil offensive
BBC News: Bush plans to tackle petrol price
US President George W Bush has unveiled plans, including an inquiry into price fixing, to lower the cost of oil and cut climbing petrol prices.
Price of oil to remain above $75 for next 5 years
FT.com: Security of oil supply raises fears of long-term contango
The last time oil prices rose to record levels, it was only short-term prices that moved higher. This time it is different: not only are deliveries for June priced at their highest level ever - about $75 a barrel - but the market is suggesting prices for the next five years will remain above $70 a barrel.
Second home ownership now at record levels
This is Money: 600,000 Brits own second home
There are as many as 350,000 in England, according to a survey. And there are another 260,000 second homes abroad owned by Britons.
Adverts on BBC website?
BBC News BBC polls users on online adverts
BBC looks at the possibility of serving adverts on certain parts of its website. This article isn't on-topic but is likely to provoke some lively discussion.
Capital Economics dispute NAEA forecast
Money extra: Estate Agents' house price forecast disputed
Economists at Capital Economics are disputing claims by the National Association of Estate Agents that house prices will double over the next decade. It may well be in the NAEA's interests to talk up housing but is the forecast realistic?
South Korean economy set to grow by 5% in 2006
BBC News: South Korean growth slowing down
South Korea's economy grew 6.2% year on year in the first quarter, the nation's central bank said, pointing to gains in private consumption and exports.
Poor Stay Poor As Rich Get Richer
Sky News: Little Chance For Poor
People brought up in poverty are at least twice as likely to be poor as those from better-off homes, new research shows. One in five teenagers from poor households in the 1970s are no better off than their parents were.
Oil price dips slightly
Reuters: Oil dips on OPEC promise
Oil prices dipped on Tuesday as OPEC's promise to keep pumping at near full capacity triggered profit taking from record highs struck late last week.
TVR to shut up shop in Blackpool
Sky News: Jobs Lost As Car Firm Shuts Factory
TVR is to close its UK factory in Blackpool with the loss of 260 jobs. Britain's biggest independent car maker will cease production at the plant in six months.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Bad news for BTL's
Reuters: Buy-to-let rental yields fall
Buy-to-let rental yields are rising in Scotland but falling elsewhere, according to Landlord Mortgages, the largest buy-to-let broker in the UK.
Most expensive petrol station in the UK?
Daily Mail: Petrol hits £1.19 a litre
Scare headline from the Daily Mail. When you actually read the story you find that it's a disreputable Texaco petrol station in Sloane Square!
Housing market on the slide?
Money Week: Is the housing market finally slipping?
"Back in the late 1980s before the housing market collapsed, groups of young people joined together to buy properties. Clearly we don't learn from the lessons of history because this week in the FT it was reported that homebuyers are flocking to a joint-purchase website Sharedspaces.co.uk."
Lenders tighten up on mortgage switching
This is Money: Cost of mortgage switch soars
Homebuyers are being forced to pay more than £1,000 to change mortgages as lenders raise their charges by up to 125%.
Tesco to restructure property portfolio
Guardian: Tesco to cash in on land holdings
Supermarket group Tesco will tomorrow outline plans to release cash from its multibillion-pound property portfolio, which could allow a substantial return to shareholders.
Mortgage lending remains strong
Reuters: Mortgage lending growth near 2-year high
Underlying mortgage lending growth jumped in March to its highest in nearly two years, the British Bankers' Association said on Monday, in data that suggested the housing market remains buoyant.
UK Retail Sales revised down for February
National Statistics: Retail sales down in first quarter (PDF)Reuters: March UK retail sales up more than expected
British retail sales rose faster than expected last month but February's rise was revised down, official figures showed on Monday.
Banks go low to woo borrowers
Independent: The personal loan bursts into blossom
After a period of hibernation, the personal loans market has burst into life again with rates as low as 5.6 per cent.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Base rate is artificially low due to migrants
Scotsman: EU incomers 'keeping interest rates down'Times: Migrants 'have kept interest rates down'
The Ernst & Young Item club argues that if we didn't have EU migrants then interest rates would be 0.5% higher. With increased migration this will subdue the base rate by up to 1% in the coming months.
Buy for Uni mortgage
Independent: Make the grade, and you'll pass directly to home ownership
A new mortgage launched by Bath building society similar to a buy to let mortgage but specifically for students at university...but with several strings attached!
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Did someone mention the R word?
icWales: Troubled times - even recession - ahead
Our level headed friends at Moneyweek believe, amongst other things, that house price surveys from Nationwide and Halifax are misleading...couldn't agree more!
Petrol prices to remain high until September
channel4.com: Petrol prices 'may soar'
: 'When do we see some respite from all this? At the end of August into September. Unless we have another violent hurricane season like last year, I would expect prices to come down.'
Who wants to be a millionaire?
Sky News: More And More Property Millionaires
A feelgood news story for homeowners, after reading this article they should probably pat themselves on the back for making such wise and calculated decisions!
Friday, April 21, 2006
Has the penny dropped?
The Gallup Poll: Seven in 10 Consumers Expect Housing Bubble to Burst
However, only about 4 in 10 expect housing prices in their areas to remain the same or decline.
Analysing the recent oil price rises
Reuters: How high is too high for world oil price?
The $70-a-barrel mark for oil, decisively breached this week, is seen by many analysts as a danger level. But some argue sustained prices of well over $60 have inflicted surprisingly little pain and done some good.
Mammoth loss for Ford
BBC NEWS: US problems fuel huge Ford loss
Ford has reported a $1.19bn (£629m) loss for the past three months after incurring huge costs from its planned series of job cuts and plant closures.
FTB's dig deep
Guardian: Costs hit first-time home buyers hard
While first-time buyers in 2000 needed an average of £4,698 to cover stamp duty, solicitors' bills and mortgage fees, in 2006 the average is £9,113, according to research by mortgage lender Woolwich.
Buy-to-let sector sees reduction in yields
In2perspective: Buy-to-let investors squeezed as yields fall
Rental yields in England have fallen from 6.15% to 5.91% between the last quarter of the last year and the beginning of 2006. London yields have fallen by an even greater margin - from 6.58% to 6.07%.
Will the BoE be forced to raise interest rates?
The Scotsman: Caution over rates despite fall in CPI
This article argues that the recent inflation figure does not take into account the latest rises in energy bills and oil prices.
Interest rates to dampen demand for property
Reuters: Higher rates may hit surging property demand
Based on the twice-yearly RICS survey the findings are that further interest rate rise globally would probably take some steam out of the market.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Has Gordon Brown pushed the UK consumer too far?
Independent: Hamish McRae - How the consumer slowdown could squeeze Brown where it hurts
How long can the British consumer keep it up? The boost from the public sector is waning and company investment remains depressed.
Record month for mortgage lending
Guardian: Mortgage lending hits new high
The council of Mortgage Lenders have today announced that £28.31bn was lent in March which was the highest figure on record. So, is this the last spurt for the housing market?
Inflation rate catches economists out
Times: Surprise fall in inflationTelegraph: Inflation slowest in over a year
Economists had predicted the annual rate of inflation to remain at 2% or drop to 1.9% but instead it has slowed to 1.8%
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Yet more record highs for oil!
Reuters.co.uk: Oil hits new high over $73BBC News: US jitters fuel fresh oil highs
London Brent crude hit's a record high of $74 whilst US light crude jumped to another record high of $72.40. Do I see any bidders for $80....yes thank you sir the man at the back with the brightly coloured jacket!
Debt? What debt?
Guardian: Borrowers undaunted by debt
As consumer borrowing nears the £1.2 trillion mark, a survey by CreditExpert shows that most debtors are confident that they can meet repayments on mortgages, loans and credit cards.
FTSE breaks through 6100 barrier
Sky News: FTSE Hits 5-Year High
The FTSE continues to break into territory that it has not seen in 5 years. The recent rise is mainly due to the Fed's minutes indicating that the current trend of rate increases may soon be taking a breather even though oil prices continue to rise.
Oil prices show no sign of receding
BBC News: Oil price lingers near record $71Sky News: Fuel prices on the rise
Oil prices are still hovering at record levels. BA have increased their fuel levy from £30 to £35 for a one-way trip and motorists are told that £1 per litre of diesel will become the norm this summer.
Bank voted 7-1 to hold UK rates
BBC News: Bank of England voted 7-1 to hold UK ratesBBC News: Fed hints at end to US rate rises
Minutes released today show that the MPC are holding tight for now but are aware of rising energy cost affecting inflation. All eyes are now on the Fed to see if ftey are going to continue raising interest rates and on the Bank of Japan to see when they are going to start raising them.
China's currency revaluation could lead to higher global inflation
Will China's next big export be inflation? - Analysis - Times Online
If China were to submit to pressure from the US to revalue its currency against the dollar, this would increase the price of Chinese exports which would produce an immediate (and perhaps sharp) inflationary effect on the rest of the world.
Inflation expectations rise
Guardian Unlimited Business | | Inflation expectation increases to 2.7%
According to the latest NOP poll conducted for the Bank of England, inflation expectations rose to 2.7% in March, which is the highest they have been since the survey began in 1999.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Peugot pulls the plug on Coventry with the loss of 2,300 jobs
Peugot is to close it's Coventry factory in 2 phases with production stopping completely in mid-2007.BBC NEWS: 2,300 jobs go in Peugeot closure
RICS talks up the market
The RICS survey for April attempts to get some momentum going for the yearly spring bounce which, although most agents rely on it happening, failed to appear last year. Times: House prices rise for fifth consecutive month
RICS spokesman Ian Perry, said: "People traditionally put houses on the market in the new year and sales pick up around Easter. Agents are clearly expecting this year to be no exception, and our figures are showing a lot of optimism in the industry."
Second home owners - council tax increases
Guardian: Second home owners may face new tax
The government is now mulling over proposals to tax second home owners higher than the rate of first homes. To be able to implement this effectively a national register of second homes would also have to be implemented.
Principality supports home information packs
icWales - Principality backs home packs
Despite a survey last week that showed the majority of mortgage lenders were against HIPS, the Principality Building Society has outlined their support for the packs. They believe they will save buyers from paying for a survey and reduce or negate the costs of the lenders valuation. They also think they will increase transparency in the housing market and speed up the buying process.
Price of haircuts rising at 4 times inflation
Haircuts aren't a snip, even with low inflation - Sunday Times - Times Online
Although official figures put inflation at about 2%, prices for many goods and services from energy and transport to hair cuts seem to be climbing by much more than that.
Oil price at record levels...again!
Oil prices are hovering around record highs amid international tensions over Iran's nuclear programme and disruptions to supplies from Nigeria. Sky News: Crude Oil Prices Are Soaring Again
Light sweet crude closed at $70.40 a barrel in New York and the price rose to record levels in London where the cost of Brent crude hit $71.86 a barrel.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Telegraph - Money - High street has a quiet holiday
Retailers have been deprived of an early bank holiday boost as the number of people visiting the high street fell on Good Friday, according to the first analysis of the key weekend's trends. The number of shoppers venturing out across the UK continued to slide on Friday, dropping 4.3pc compared with the same day last year.
Daily Mail - News - Millions living in the red
Almost two million people owe more than £10,000 on credit cards, overdrafts and loans, new research reveals. Around a quarter of them have amassed unsecured debts of more than £20,000, according to debt solutions company One Advice.
Guardian Unlimited - Money - Super rich make UK their home
For the ultra-rich few, this country is now a virtual tax haven, which is why more and more princes, tycoons and oligarchs are making it their home.
Times Online - Britain - Tax rise threat to second homes
Second homeowners in Britain's favourite beauty spots face a new 'absenteeism' tax under plans before the Government.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Long-term rates break out, set to hit 5% - Apr. 6, 2006
Telegraph | Money | Chelsea house prices take off as City challenges New York
Chelsea and other fashionable areas of London are at the centre of an astonishing property boom fuelled by foreign billionaires, hefty City bonuses and the strong performance of the stock market.
Bubble builds in commercial property
It has estimated that average rental yields on commerical properties have fallen
from 8.5% in 2001 to 6% now, substantially reducing the margin over interest rates. In some cases yields are much lower, with the freehold on a Barclays branch in Stansted recently selling to an investor at a rental yield of just 3.4%
One of Britain's best known property entrepenuers, Nick Leslau, now thinks the market is overheated. He turned bearish just over a year ago, selling the majority of the properties his company owned apart from £1.3 billion worth of pubs, Travelodge hotels and nursing homes.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
FED worries about US property
The Fed is looking for housing to slow at a moderate pace this year. If the market looks headed for an outright collapse, it could bring a quick end to Fed tightening. But it's unlikely the Fed would react to any one month's housing numbers, especially considering the rampant skepticism at the Fed that even falling home prices would curb consumer spending. MarketWatch: Inflation, housing are main risks to Fed policy
US counts cost of Treasury yields
Yields on 10-year US Treasuries have risen above 5pc for the first time since 2002 on heavy selling by big institutions, sending tremors through the US mortgage and corporate credit markets.Telegraph: US counts cost of Treasury yields
Scotsman.com Living - TV & Radio - Ann makes everything rosy in the home
Interview with Ann Maurice, the Amercian home stager behind the popular 'House Doctor' TV series. Ann makes everything rosy in the home
. Even though we all know now to de-clutter, de-personalise and neutralise in order to sell a home quickly and for the best price, it still amazes me to see that people don't even do the basics and think that having a deep purple bedroom will appeal to buyers!
No sign of soft-landing for housing market
According to a new survey
that collects price data from a variety of Internet property sites, asking prices actually fell 2.5% over the last 12 months (4.4% in real terms), with a 0.4% drop this month.
Commodity prices add to inflation concerns
Commodity prices are on the up, which is adding to inflationary concerns
and it seems that bond yields are finally responding to such pressures. A consensus is forming that a strengthening global economy will cause central banks to raise interest rates, and this resulted in US treasury yields breaching 5% this week for the first time since 2002.
Friday, April 14, 2006
House prices rise 281% over past decade in East London
House prices rise 281% over past decade in East London
Four of the six London boroughs with the strongest house price increases since 1996 are in East London - Newham, Waltham Forest, Lewisham and Hackney. Newham has seen the strongest house price performance in London over the past ten years with a 281% rise.
Survey says that HIPS will be 'Bad for sales'
According to a survey for the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, two-thirds of mortgage lenders think that HIPS will have a negative impact on house sales
. Also more than half of lenders said that they thought HIPS would make do difference in speeding up the buying process.
Fuel prices head for £1 per litre
Motorists are likely to have an expensive fuel bill this Easter weekend as the average price of Diesel and Super closes in on £1 per litre, with regular Unleaded not far behind. However all is not lost, and you could save up to 7p a litre off the average
by shopping around according to figures from local fuel price monitoring website, PetrolPrices.com
HIPS could ruin the property market!
So say Phil and Kirsty in an open letter
they have written to home buyers and sellers. Of course they neglect to mention any of the possible benefits of these new packs, or the problems they will address
, such as the huge fact that for far too long home buyers have had to rely on scant information from estate agents to make a decision about the most expensive product they are ever going to buy.
Unemployment may hit 1 million by summer
The number of people claiming benefits for unemployment has risen by 12,600
to it's highest level since 2003 and is on course to exceed 1 million by the summer. The unemployment count has now risen for 13 out of the last 14 months.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
FT.com / Your money - Don't lose cents on your holiday home
While the UK property market shows signs of a modest rebound, our ardour for buying holiday homes abroad is undiminished. Latest estimates suggest around 1.5m people in the UK now own a place overseas.
Warning on commerical property auctions
Private investors are being warned not to rush into to commercial property auctions
as they risk getting their fingers burnt. With weakening retail sales, commerical property could be the first to feel the effect of a slow down.
Telegraph: UK alone among G7 to see rise in jobless
Unemployment is rising faster in the UK than in any other major developed country, it has emerged, as Britain's jobless total rose to the highest level in two and a half years.
FT.com: Women hardest hit as labour markt deteriorates
Women have been hardest hit by the loss of jobs as the labour market has deteriorated, official figures showed, writes Andrew Taylor.
Guardian: Claimant count is wake-up call
The engines of jobs growth have stalled. Let's get things in perspective. Britain's claimant count measure of unemployment is only 3% - a level once seen as synonymous with full employment.
Sky News: No Win, No Fee Firms To Be Cut
The number companies chasing clients to pursue 'no win, no fee' accident claims is set to fall sharply when the Compensation Bill is introduced later this year, a report has predicted.
Guardian: Move to tackle mortgage fraud
An initiative to reduce the number of fraudulent mortgage applications being made through brokers was launched today.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Citywire: Rising house prices fuel dangerous debt levels
A slew of property data has highlighted the growing strain that the resurgent housing market is placing on first-time buyers and the wider economy.
Mirror.co.uk: The NHS ase 100,000
100,000 staff to go in health service shake-up, says report: NHS reforms will lead to more than 100,000 job losses and severe unemployment among medical staff, a report claims today. It predicts up to 10 per cent of the 1.3 million workforce will go over the next decade.
icNewcastle: Outlook is bright for investment property
A shortage of property to sell rather than a lack of demand has been blamed for the slight dip in the level of commercial property transactions in the North-East in 2005.
Independent: Safeguard your mortgage
Could you still afford your loan if you lost your job? The rise in house prices over the past few years has doubtless left more homebuyers finding that their finances are stretched at the end of every month.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
icSurreyOnline: Trees put house prices up
The more trees in a street - the higher the value of houses in it, a report has found. And it is one reason why Epsom and Ewell council is anxious to add to the 6,000 trees already in the borough with a commitment to plant 225 trees a year worth £5,000.
Guardian: Oil prices hit all-time UK high
Oil prices hit record levels in London today amid concerns that Iran's nuclear stand-off and violence in Nigeria could hurt supplies.
Sky News: Oil Prices At Record High
The price of Brent North Sea crude oil reached an all-time high point of $69.59 at one point on Tuesday.
National Statistics: UK Trade Deficit widened to £4.8 bn in Feb 2006
The UK's deficit on trade in goods and services was £4.8 billion in February, compared with £4.6 billion in January. The surplus on trade in services was £1.7 billion in February, £0.3 billion lower than in January.
Reuters.co.uk: Feb trade gap wider than expected
The goods trade deficit with the rest of the world was much wider than expected in February, only slightly below a new record marked in January owing to revisions, official data showed on Tuesday.
The Move Channel: ODPM house index shows price falls
The house price index produced by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on an experimental basis shows house price inflation across the UK slowed slightly in the year to February.
BBC NEWS | Business | Japan leaves rates close to zero
The Bank of Japan has left its interest rates at close to zero, as it tries to keep the economic recovery on course.
BBC NEWS | Business | Oil tops $69 amid Iran tensions
Crude oil prices have hit record levels in London amid heightening concerns of a conflict between the US and Iran.
Monday, April 10, 2006
This is Money: Home sales are ready to roll
The experts may disagree about the numbers, but virtually all agree on the trend - the housing market is back on track after two years in the doldrums.
This is Money: Smoothing the way to faster house sales?
The house-buying process will get easier and faster next year with the introduction of Home Information Packs - known as Hips. At least, that is what the Government hopes.
Telegraph: VAT on house sales packs will net £111m
Families will be hit by a £111 million stealth tax from next year when they try to sell their homes, the Conservatives have warned.
MSNBC.com (US): Homebuyers feel pinch of rising mortgage rates
Consumers squeezed as adjustable-rate mortgages expire. Vicki Nious joined a nonprofit agency last year to help low-income Americans buy and fix up homes. Instead, with interest rates rising, she's seeing more clients struggling to pay their mortgage and hang onto their house.
Telegraph: Family size shrinking due to cost of children
Late motherhood, the price of housing and the spiralling cost of raising children is causing the British family to shrink.
BBC NEWS | UK | NHS job cuts 'set to quadruple'
Hospital job cuts could reach 24,000 - four times the number of job losses announced in recent weeks - the Liberal Democrats have claimed.
Telegraph: Milburn hints at carrying Blairite standard against Brown
Alan Milburn, the former health secretary, has reignited tensions between No 10 and the Treasury by hinting he is prepared to stand against Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
ShropshireStar.com - News - Article - More than 500 hospital staff facing axe
Hundreds of workers were today facing the axe at a hospital in south Shropshire. A total of 720 positions are being lost in a bid to balance the books at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
Guardian: House price inflation picks up as UK average passes £175,000 mark
House prices rose strongly again last month, the Halifax said yesterday as the Bank of England left interest rates steady at 4.5% for the eighth month running.
Sky News: House Price Rises 'Bad For Borrowers'
A fresh surge in house price inflation bodes ill for borrowing costs, according to the Financial Times.
This is Money: Crash cost us £20,000 and our home
The housing market may be looking better generally, but the picture is not rosy everywhere - as Adele and Travis Cowgill discovered to their cost.
My Finances: The end is nigh for 0% credit cards
Zero per cent credit card deals are under threat after new rules on how much card providers can charge were announced.
The Observer: Banks vow to fight back as credit card fees are capped at £12
People who are late making repayments on their credit cards are set to see fees fall by around 50 per cent, following a ruling by the Office of Fair Trading.
Surging London house prices point to possible rate rise (FT)
What the effect may be of the 7.2 percent rise of London house prices between November and February (FT).
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Sky News: House Price Rises 'Bad For Borrowers'
A fresh surge in house price inflation bodes ill for borrowing costs, according to the Financial Times.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Guardian: Banks threaten end to era of free current accounts
Britain's big banks are threatening to impose charges on current account customers in retaliation for being forced to slash fees for late credit card payments. This would bring to an end the era of free banking in Britain, which is one of the few remaining countries in the world where customers are not routinely charged for operating current accounts.
FT.Com: Treasury faces £7bn claim for tax rebates
UK-based multinational companies are on course to claw back billions of pounds in rebates from the Treasury after winning the first round in a European court battle over their claim that the government over-taxed dividends from foreign subsidiaries.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
ThisisMoney: Which? warns over loans scam
CONSUMER watchdog Which? has urged people who have taken out loans with North London Securities to check their contracts immediately. The group is concerned that people could be in far deeper debts than they realise because of dirty tricks employed by the company. North London Securities made the headlines in 2004 when a judge wiped off the £400,000 debt of a Liverpool couple that had originally taken out a £5,750 loan.
ThisisMoney: Average house price breaches £175,000
HOUSE prices increased slightly in March, pushing the average price above the £175,000 level for the first time. According to the Halifax House Price Index, prices rose by 0.9% during the month and by 1.6% during the first quarter of the year.
ThisisMoney: Bad debt hits Co-op credit cards
A rising tide of credit card debt hit Co-operative Financial Services today after it reported a 16% slump in profits at its banking arm for last year. The slowdown at the Co-operative Bank offset a much improved performance from insurance business CIS, which doubled profits to £37.1m after a modernisation drive announced in the summer of 2004. Overall, CFS profits rose 3.8% to £135.7m in the year to January 14, as it presented integrated results for its banking and insurance operations for the first time.
TimesOnline: Autumn may see more than leaves fall
For an eighth month, the intensive deliberations of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee have produced a verdict of "no change". For the Bank’s Governor, Mervyn King, and his colleagues on the MPC, masterly inactivity remains the order of the day. For homebuyers, borrowers and businesses around the country, the big questions are will this last? And for how long?
BBC NEWS | England | Hereford/Worcs | Debt-hit NHS trust axes 720 jobs
Hundreds of jobs are to go at NHS hospitals in Worcestershire. The 720 positions are being axed in an attempt to balance the books at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which needs to save £30m
BBC NEWS | Business | BAE Systems to sell Airbus stake
UK defence and aerospace group BAE Systems is to sell its 20% stake in European aircraft maker Airbus. It is expected to be bought by EADS, the Franco-German group that owns the rest of Airbus, the BBC has learned.
BBC NEWS | Business | Government pays for debt advisers
The government is handing out £45m to employ 500 independent debt advisers over the next two years. The money will be used to help thousands of people gain personal advice in England and Wales on how to cope with their debts.
BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Job losses as hosiery firm closes
A Northern Ireland textile company is to close its County Tyrone base with the loss of 140 jobs. The Strabane-based hosiery company, Adria, said on Thursday that harsh trading conditions led to the decision.
BBC NEWS | England | Norfolk | Hospital sheds jobs to save £4m
A major hospital plans to shed 100 jobs in a bid to reduce its budget for the coming year by £4m. The James Paget Hospital at Gorleston hopes to avoid staff redundancies by not filling vacant posts or replacing people when they leave or retire.
BBC NEWS | England | Norfolk | Jobs fears as storage firm closes
More than 150 jobs could be lost after a cold storage and distribution company announced plans to close two sites. Celsius First called in the receivers last month after a slump in business which it blamed on a fall in demand for frozen food storage, and a price war.
BBC NEWS | England | Somerset | Hospital trust latest to axe jobs
The Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath is to axe up to 300 posts in the latest round of NHS job cuts. The 650-bed hospital, which employs 3,500 staff, must make £13.2m savings.
BBC NEWS | Scotland | Firm collapse means 350 jobs lost
A construction firm has gone into receivership with the loss of almost 350 jobs, it has been announced. Receivers KPMG moved in at Peter Walker Group, which is based in Loanhead, Midlothian, on Tuesday.
BBC NEWS | Business | Bird flu may 'trigger recession'
A human flu pandemic in Asia could trigger the first global recession in nearly 25 years, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has warned. If bird flu mutates to humans, it could cut Asia's economic output by as much as $300bn (£170bn), the Bank said.
Reuters: Bank holds rates steady
The Bank of England kept interest rates steady for the eighth month running on Thursday and many economists say borrowing costs could remain pegged at 4.5 percent for the rest of the year. All 42 analysts polled by Reuters last week had predicted no change at this month's Monetary Policy Committee meeting. News earlier in the day of another big jump in house prices had only cemented that view as policymakers have expressed concern that a repeat of August 2005's rate cut risked stimulating the market too much.
Guardian: There's no need to fear a house price bubble
There have been many dire warnings about a house price bubble in the past two years, many of them from impeccable sources like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the IMF. If the bubble bursts, the crash in housing prices would ruin many families, as well as end Gordon Brown's reputation for economic competence.
Reuters: Bank set to leave interest rates unchanged
The Bank of England looks set to hold interest rates for the eighth month running this week and perhaps for the rest of the year. All 42 analysts polled by Reuters predicted the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee would keep borrowing costs at 4.5 percent at the end of its two-day meeting on Thursday. That is where unanimity ends though. Just over half of those polled said the BoE's next move in rates will be down, even if that does not happen until next year. Many others say it will be up.
ThisisMoney: New trust fund tax hits 'millions'
LAWYERS have stopped writing wills and leading insurers frozen sales of life policies in the wake of a Budget clampdown on trust funds. It emerged today that Gordon Brown's surprise decision to levy tax on trusts has triggered a last-ditch attempt to stop the changes which are due to be introduced this Friday.
Independent: Economy hit by job losses and manufacturing decline
The outlook for the UK business sector suffered a triple blow yesterday as a tyre maker announced it was shutting a factory with more than 600 job losses, manufacturing output fell and growth in services slowed. The pound hit a 15-month low against the euro as traders bet the Bank of England would be forced to cut interest rates by the end of the year.
Independent: OFT cracks down on 'illegal' penalty fees on credit cards
Credit card lenders have been illegally taking more than £300m a year from customers in late payment charges and other penalty fees, the Office of Fair Trading ruled yesterday. The regulator gave the industry until the end of next month to respond to its proposal to limit all such charges to a maximum of £12, less than a third of the penalties currently levied by many leading lenders.
TimesOnline: HSBC to put aside $1bn to buy debt of failed ventures
HSBC plans to boost its distressed debt funds by $1 billion (£570 million), joining the growing ranks of banks and venture capitalists seeking to take advantage of companies in financial difficulty. The UK’s biggest bank said that it already had about $150 million invested in distressed assets, but believed there was a real opportunity to grow the business over the next 12 to 18 months as companies overloaded with debt ran into trouble.
TimesOnline: Industry relapse sends pound to two-year lows
THE pound tumbled yesterday, with its overall value hitting two-year lows, after a surprise relapse in UK manufacturing highlighted its divergent performance with the eurozone’s resurgent industrial sector. Sterling slipped by almost a fifth of a penny against the euro, which climbed through the 70p barrier for the first time in 15 months, and also shed 0.6 cents against the dollar, to close at $1.7493.
BBC NEWS | Business | House prices show March increase
House price inflation has continued to rise in March, according to the latest survey from the Halifax bank. It says prices rose by 0.9% during the month, pushing up the annual rate of house price inflation to 6.2%.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Guardian: BBC sends out redundancy notices
The BBC is facing the threat of industrial action after sending out compulsory redundancy notices to staff. Broadcasting unions Bectu, the National Union of Journalists and Amicus last week gave the corporation a four-week deadline to halt compulsory redundancies. But their demand has been ignored and 23 notices were issued last Friday.
MotleyFool: Should You Buy Or Rent?
First of all, there's absolutely nothing wrong with renting if your circumstances require it. You may not be able to afford to buy, for one thing, if you don't have enough money for a deposit, other buying expenses, furniture and so on. Or you may have moved into a new area and you want a little time to get to know it, so you don't make the mistake of buying a property that turns out to be in the 'wrong' part of town. Or you may want to retain some flexibility because you are not sure if you will need a property in that exact area for very long. These are all valid reasons for renting.
Firstrung: Is the US housing bubble close to collapse?
The US economy is struggling under the weight of its massive twin deficits. The housing bubble is on the verge of collapse, just at the point when its heavily-indebted consumers are spending more than they earn for the first time since the Depression era. But how did it get into this state? It's time to take the opportunity to remind ourselves of just how big a mess ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has left behind for Ben Bernanke...
ThisisMoney: Sell-off plan for Network Rail
THE publicly-owned company which runs Britain's railway infrastructure is considering plans for a controversial part-privatisation. Network Rail has called in an investment bank to advise on selling shares to City investors.
TimesOnline: Industrial recovery falters as service sector slows
A batch of weaker-than-expected economic data released today has cast fresh doubts over the strength of the economy, increasing the likelihood of a cut in the cost of borrowing before the end of the summer.
BBC NEWS | England | Wear | Goodyear to cut 585 factory jobs
Tyre-maker Goodyear Dunlop has announced it is ending production at its Wearside factory, with the loss of 585 jobs.
The company said it could no longer compete effectively with competitors in Eastern Europe and the Far East. Tyres have been produced at the Washington site since 1968, with Goodyear Dunlop taking control in 2004. The company said meetings with union officials representing staff at the plant were ongoing.
BBC NEWS | Business | Surprise fall in UK manufacturing
UK manufacturing output fell by 0.2% in February as production by chemical firms slipped, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. The fall confounded forecasts of a 0.2% rise for the period, and followed three consecutive monthly rises.
BBC NEWS | World | Dixons to leave UK's High Streets
Dixons, Europe's largest electrical retailing group, will remove its name from the UK High Street. The company said it will switch its focus to selling its products over the internet, and will rebrand its Dixons stores under the Currys name.
Reuters: Bank set to leave rates on hold
The Bank of England looks set to hold interest rates for the eighth month running this week and perhaps for the rest of the year. All 42 analysts polled by Reuters predicted the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee would keep borrowing costs at 4.5 percent at the end of its two-day meeting on Thursday. Economists said policymakers would have to balance concerns that consumer spending is slowing again against fears that another rate cut could boost the housing market too much and that wages might pick up in response to soaring energy prices.
ThisisMoney: Homes cost us £10,000 a year
THE cost of keeping a roof over our heads has raced ahead of inflation to top £10,000 a year for the first time, a study has found. Rising council tax and utility bills, along with soaring mortgage repayments, mean the average householder is now paying 16 per cent more than two years ago.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
BBC NEWS | England | Southern Counties | Hundreds of health jobs to be cut
A healthcare trust has said it expects around 400 jobs will go as it attempts to wipe out a £2m monthly overspend. Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, announced the cuts as part of a two-year plan aimed at eliminating its £41.2m debt.
Reuters: Home equity withdrawal highest in a year
Britons extracted the most amount of equity from their homes in more than a year in the last three months of 2005, perhaps encouraged by a housing market recovery. The Bank of England said on Tuesday mortgage equity withdrawal rose to 11.806 billion pounds, or 5.6 percent of post-tax income, over the quarter.
Reuters: Bellway sees improving market
Low-cost home builder Bellway (BWY.L: Quote, Profile, Research) posted a 2.1 percent fall in first half profit on Tuesday, but said it was encouraged by signs of improvement in housing markets in east London and Scotland. Bellway, which builds around two-thirds of its homes on "brownfield" or former industrial sites, said it sold 2,958 homes in the six months to end-January, broadly flat compared with a year ago, while the average selling price of houses in the six months fell to 166,600 pounds from 167,000.
Reuters: Construction activity at six-month high
Construction activity growth picked up to a six-month high in March as house-building grew at its fastest pace in more than two years, a survey showed on Tuesday. The Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply said its seasonally adjusted index for construction rose to 54.7 in March, the highest since 57.2 in September 2005, from 51.9 in February. The housing component jumped to 59.6, the highest since December 2003, from 52.9 in February. It was well above the 50.0 level that divides expansion from contraction.
ThisisMoney: Taxes 'must rise to fund pensions'
TAXES will have to rise if people want to retire on a decent state pension, the chair of Labour's pension commission warned today. Lord Turner said unless the government carried out his reforms then millions of Britons could expect a 'derisory' hand-out on retirement.
Telegraph: Housing market on the move
Mortgage lenders have indicated that the housing market slowdown may have come to an end, with first-time buyers and buy-to-let landlords starting to return to the market. However, the prospects for the housing market remain cloudy, with many economists predicting either more price falls or sluggish rises for the coming decades.
Telegraph: UK output indicator hits eight-month low
Britain's manufacturing sector has lost yet more ground to the rest of Europe, according to newly published statistics. A key measure of the industrial sector's performance shows that British manufacturing output dropped to an eight-month low in March while the eurozone's corresponding measure soared to a seven-year high.
Independent: Rise in bankruptcies and repossessions dents Northern Rock
More bankruptcies and repossessions took the shine off an otherwise acceptable trading update from the mortgage bank Northern Rock yesterday. While the arrears among its customers remain below half the industry average, the Newcastle-based bank is writing off more bad debts than before. It will not be setting aside extra cash to cover this, however, because earlier provisions are yet to be used.
TimesOnline: Activity in Britain's manufacturing sector still falling
ACTIVITY in Britain’s still-struggling manufacturing sector fell in March to its lowest for seven months as growth in orders and output dropped to the worst levels since last autumn, a key industry survey showed. The worse than expected figures in the CIPS/RBS purchasing managers’ survey marked the second successive month of deteriorating conditions in the sector and came despite a buoyant manufacturing environment in the eurozone and the US.
BBC NEWS | Business | Oil tips beyond $67 per barrel
The price of oil has tipped beyond $67 per barrel amid concerns Iran will limit oil supplies, due to its ongoing nuclear dispute with the US. Light crude for May rose as high as $67.90 a barrel in the US on Monday, before settling 11 cents up at $66.74.
FT: Interest rate fears hit government bonds
Eurozone government bonds came under heavy pressure on Monday after another set of strong economic data heightened fears of aggressive interest rate rises by the European Central Bank.
FT: Landlords have to dig deeper for a licence
...The National Landlords Association estimates that the rules could affect around 100,000 landlords in the UK. It fears the legislation will trigger an exodus of buy-to-let investors from the HMO market, which has traditionally been attractive as it offers high rental yields.
Monday, April 03, 2006
BBC NEWS | England | Kent | Hospital trust to lose 160 jobs
Up to 160 jobs are to go at a Kent hospital in a move to save £11m in the next financial year. Medway NHS Trust has confirmed it is shedding 160 posts. Some are already vacant and other jobs will be shed by not replacing staff who leave.
BBC NEWS | England | Cornwall | Fears that jobs could go to India
Staff at the Royal Cornwall Hospital have said they fear administrative work is going to be sent abroad.
It could mean some secretarial jobs such as typing could be done in India. Last month the trust announced 300 job cuts because of an £8.1m budget shortfall. Some wards and operating theatres may also be closed.
FT.Com: Property break for pensions
Investors who thought the government had stamped out any opportunity to hold residential property in their pension schemes may have a second chance under new rules proposed by the Treasury. The small print of legislation published just days ahead of the launch of “A-day” on April 6, says that pension investors can include residential property in their self-invested personal pensions provided they club together with other individuals.
FT.Com: UK manufacturers turn in muted performance
UK manufacturing activity in March was at its most subdued in seven months, but producers are having more success passing on price rises, according to an industry report released on Monday.The CIPS/RBS Purchasing Managers’ Index registered a worse than expected 50.8 last month, compared with a downwardly revised figure of 51.5 in February. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, below 50 a contraction.
BBC NEWS | Health | NHS Direct faces 100s of job cuts
Hundreds of jobs could go at NHS Direct as part of a restructuring of the organisation. Unions warn up to 1,000 positions could be cut, but firm proposals will not be put forward until next month.
This is Money: Northern Rock hails a boom as first-timers return
THE return of the first-time buyer to the housing market in recent months should drive the UK mortgage market to a record £300bn this year, lender Northern Rock forecast today. The former building society also signalled that - barring any unexpected disaster - Britain's High Street banks are also on course for another record year of profits having made a combined £35bn plus in 2005.
Telegraph | Money | Housing showing recovery
: "Housing showing recovery"Further signs of a recovery in the housing market came this morning from mortgage bank Northern Rock, which revealed its net lending jumped 26pc in the first three months of the year.
BBC NEWS | Business | Probe begins into debt insurance
An investigation into the £5bn payment protection insurance (PPI) market has been launched. In a wide ranging probe, the Office for Fair Trading (OFT) will look at whether PPI providers are making excessive profits and treating customers fairly.
Firstrung: The UK House Price Bubble Illusion
Bubble? What bubble? The last Economic Outlook from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development argues that UK house prices are overvalued by 30%, or even more. It also warns of the danger of a protracted period of house price falls, with dire implications for consumer spending. The OECD is not alone. But these pessimists are wrong.
BBC NEWS | Business | Energy costs 'to drive inflation'
Higher energy bills will push inflation up to 2.3% between April and June as firms are forced to absorb the hikes by increasing their prices, a report says. The figure, in a survey by accountants BDO Stoy Hayward, is above the 2% target set by Bank of England for consumer price index (CPI) inflation.
BBC NEWS | Business | Housing boost for Northern Rock
UK bank Northern Rock has said it has seen a "gentle trend" of first-time buyers returning to the housing market in late 2005 and early 2006. The former building society said its net residential lending during the first three months of 2006 was 14% higher than at the same time in 2005.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
ThisisMoney: Foxtons faces big US fines
ONATHAN Hunt created the Foxtons estate agency empire in his own image - ruthless, single-minded and highly successful. And the rewards have been substantial. His £350m fortune has enabled him to buy Heveningham Hall, a gigantic mansion in Suffolk, and a house in Kensington Palace Gardens, London's most exclusive street.
ThisisMoney: Crisis-hit Northern Foods in sell off
CRISIS-hit Northern Foods is close to selling its transport operation in an effort to cope with a profits squeeze. Northern, the leading supplier of own-label foods to major supermarket groups, warned last month that profits for the 12 months just ending would be about £45m, a drop of almost 28 per cent.
ThisisMoney: Lenders drawn into fraud scare
BANKS and building societies have been warned by the City's watchdog about a suspected major commercial fraud involving false valuations on property that could result in losses of hundreds of millionss of pounds. The Financial Services Authority has contacted the chiefs of the British Bankers' Association and the Building Societies Association to tell them that a suspected fraud that cost Cheshire Building Society about £10m - and which is now being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office - was probably not a one-off. Lenders as big as Nationwide building society now appear to be embroiled.
Leeds Today: Bid to safeguard Silverscreen jobs
TALKS were taking place today to safeguard about 550 jobs after specialist DVD retailer Silverscreen was forced into administration.
Observer: In debt? No pension? You're in club 18-40
The most potent divide in British society is determined by when you first bought your house. If you're over 40 the chances are that anguished debates about insecurity, debt and the pensions crisis wash over you; after a 20-year house-price boom there is enough equity in your property to see you through. Under 40 and the story is different. Your role is to envelop yourself in debt to prop up the house prices and security of your elders.
Scotsman: BoE will eat its words as slump bites
HAS anyone noticed the collapsing consumer? I ask because two surveys in the past week have put the most searching question mark over hopes for a consumer-led recovery in the course of this year. Regular readers of Bank of England economic forecasts will be particularly puzzled, because in just five months its predictions for economic growth for 2006 underwent a strange and worrying switch.
Firstrung: Nationwide UK house price index, is it seriously flawed?
Each month several reliable providers of UK house prices data proudly reveal their figures insisting they are the most reliable. Most of us only look at the headline figure and fail to read the small print in relation to the compilation of the data.
ThisisMoney: Eastern property bubble at risk
A Last year 19 property companies joined London's junior Aim market - the largest number for seven years. Of these 17 raised a record £1.16bn of new money to buy up both built and unfinished schemes in east European countries from Poland and Hungary to Bulgaria and Romania.FLOTATION bubble that saw £1bn of east European property firms come to the stock market last year is in danger of bursting.
TimesOnline: Why it could all go wrong for Rightmove
SHARES in Rightmove, the property website, may have slipped slightly last week, but the company is still trading on a price-earnings ratio of more than 100. Even judged against the excesses of the dotcom boom that is an impressive rating. Much of the “hope” value in the share price stems from the belief that Rightmove will profit from government plans to simplify the house-buying process.
Reuters: Sterling falls to 8-mth low vs euro on rate view
Sterling hit an 8-month low against the euro and fell half a percent against the dollar on Friday as investors weighed the possibility of a rate cut in Britain against the chances of rate rises in the euro zone and United States. Weak data on mortgage lending and the current account deficit this week have kept speculation alive of a cut in British rates from the current 4.50 percent, though most traders see steady rates.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
TimesOnline: UK stocks experience best growth for 8 years
INVESTORS enjoyed the best growth in British equities since 1997 as the stock market benefited from the surge in takeover activity over the past financial year. As the financial year ended yesterday, figures from Thomson Financial, the equity data provider, showed that the FTSE 100 index grew more than 21 per cent between April 1 last year and yesterday. This was on top of an increase of almost 11 per cent in the previous year and 19 per cent the year before.
BBC NEWS | Scotland | Bills 'deter first-time buyers'
Council tax increases and record energy price rises have been putting off first-time house buyers, it is claimed. A survey of 400 newcomers to the housing market in Scotland found many based their decisions on council tax charges and how properties were heated.
ThisisMoney: Find an agent you can trust
WHEN it comes to polls on which professions people trust, estate agents are always near the bottom of the pile. And the property salesmen and women will not be climbing any further up the trustworthy tree following a recent expose of estate agents' sharp practice.
Telegraph: Brown's £44bn gap breaks EC rules again
Gordon Brown is likely to come under further fire from the European Commission after it emerged that the UK's budget deficit ballooned to 3.6pc of gross domestic product last year. The figures mean the government's borrowing exceed--ed the limit imposed on members of the European Union and will spark another round of criticism from the Chancellor's European counterparts at a finance meeting next week.