Guardian: Don't bet the house on a pensions boom Are Britons starting to move their money out of property and into pensions and savings? Britain's largest life assurer and pensions provider thinks so. On Tuesday, the owner of Norwich Union, Aviva, said the end of the housing boom had helped its life and pensions sales increase last year by 11% to £6.5bn, or £1.1bn on the APE measure. APE is used by insurers to shows the long-term value of new business.
This is Money | Mortgages & homes | Big rise in mortgage arrears The number of households with short-term mortgage arrears has risen materially for the first time in six years, new figures reveal today. The Council of Mortgage Lenders said that 3,070 properties were repossessed in the second half of 2004, equivalent to one in 3,500 mortgages, and it warned that there is now 'bound' to be a rise in longer term arrears and repossessions.
icNewcastle - Battle on the home front John Prescott was warned last night to keep his "sticky fingers" off the North-East's prime green belt land after he insisted he would press ahead with plans to build thousands of starter homes in the region.
Reuters.co.uk: House price falls "likely" House prices are much more likely to fall somewhat in the coming months than rise significantly, Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Kate Barker has said.
Times Online - Newspaper Edition A MAJORITY of the Commons Treasury Select Committee is backing calls for an inquiry into negative-equity mortgages such as that announced by Bradford & Bingley this week
Telegraph | Money | Landlords beware as banks relax lending rules: Banks are relaxing lending criteria on buy-to-let loans in a desperate bid to drum up mortgage business as the prospect of falling house prices scares potential investors away from the property market. These moves have reignited fears that many novice landlords could end up over-exposing themselves in the property market.
Telegraph | Money | Now it's a mis-spending spree: Consumer Groups and mortgage lenders are warning that much of the £1bn paid in compensation to homeowners who have been mis-sold endowment policies has been spent on holidays, new kitchens and other consumer purchases rather than on reducing mortgage debt
FT.com - Nation split over house prices: House prices fell everywhere in Britain in the last three months of 2004, with the exception of three northern English regions, according to the country's largest mortgage lender.
The Daily Reckoning - It Certainly Feels Like 1929 Today, we see many parallels to the 1920s, except this time the stock bubble came first. We suspect that when history books are written about the first ten years of the millennium, it will be a (credit crunch-induced) real estate collapse that is most memorable, rather than the NASDAQ collapse of 2001. Perhaps 2005 will be the year that real estate takes everything down with it, similar to how 1929 saw stocks take everything down with them. The parallels are obvious. How many people do you know who are real estate agents, mortgage brokers, appraisers, builders, developers, etc? Can you recall the last time you were at a restaurant or cocktail party and the conversation didn't swing to real estate?
Economic Indicators - The Week Ahead The Wriglesworth Consultancy Rightmove House Price Index - indicator of residential property prices in England & Wales, showing a fall in asking prices for the 3rd consecutive month.
Telegraph - 'Individual bankruptcies rise by 27pc' Individual bankruptcies rose by 27pc to a total of 45,000 last year, accountants Grant Thornton said yesterday, adding that London and Northern Ireland are 'hot spots' where debts are at dangerous levels.
The Observer - Bank catches housing jitters: Bank of England policymakers are expected to leave interest rates at 4.75 per cent for the fifth successive month on Thursday as they watch the housing market downturn gather pace.
Times Business - Surprise rise in prices fails to lift housing gloom: THE downturn in the housing market is poised to worsen despite figures showing a surprise rise in house prices last month, Britain’s biggest lender said yesterday, The latest Halifax survey found that house prices rose by 1.1 per cent last month after two consecutive monthly declines, confounding City forecasts of another drop.
Guardian Unlimited - Saturday night's all right for vegging "Saturday night, I feel the air is getting hot - like you, baby," as pop philosopher Whigfield once remarked. But the air in the disco is decidedly cool these days as the vast majority eschew the traditional pleasure of donning their gladrags, going out on the tiles and tripping the light fantastic.
this is southwales: "Homebuyers are taking on lower mortgages and are stretching themselves less by making lower offers, a new report has revealed. Research shows that buyers know they have started the new year in a strong position which has also increased interest in the housing market."
Reuters.co.uk: Mortgage equity withdrawal slips Mortgage equity withdrawal in the third quarter of last year slipped to its lowest in more than a year, the Bank of England says, further evidence that higher interest rates are taking effect.
Telegraph - A happy New Year? I don't think so It is that time of year again, the time for forecasters to throw caution to the winds. Every sane adult knows that the future is unknowable, so we soothsayers are bound to be wrong much of the time. It is a matter of doing our best - then doing it again. Here goes.
Bloomberg.com: Europe The U.K. economy, which has outpaced the euro region for 19 quarters, probably will grow at a slower pace this year as house prices decline and consumer spending eases, a survey of economists showed, raising the prospect of the first cuts in interest rates since July 2003.
FT.com - Falling house prices the biggest worry The hands-down winner wasrapid falls in house prices. Over three- quarters of the economists polled, ranging from academics to City analysts, mentioned a severe housing downturn as a serious risk.