NAEA: NAEA comment on RICS buy-to-let ‘pensions’ bolster market "The last quarter has seen landlords hanging onto properties they let rather than selling them. However next year is going to be the toughest year yet for landlords with older properties who let to sharers and students. “The mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s) will mean more red tape for landlords and this may encourage some to sell properties that fall under this category.
Reuters: Shopper numbers fall Consumers are timing their shopping outings to take advantage of retailers' frenzied promotional activity in the all-important run-up to Christmas, data showed on Tuesday.
Reuters: Bank's Walton sees no rush to move rates "I think in the current circumstances, where it looks as though the economy has regained a bit of momentum ... where inflation is above target, I don't think we should be rushing to do anything precipitate."
First Rung: Slow motion After September's pick-up, the property market slowed once more in October, according to Moneyextra. After the fillip given to the market by August's base rate cut, many had been looking for another rate cut before the end of the year. However, as that prospect receded, so did mortgage market excitement.
OECD: RECENT HOUSE PRICE DEVELOPMENTS: THE ROLE OF FUNDAMENTALS In the vast majority of OECD economies, house prices in real terms have been moving up strongly since the mid-1990s). Because of the important role housing wealth has been playing during the current upswing, this paper will look more closely at what is underlying these developments, with a view to shedding some light on whether or not prices are in line with fundamentals.
BBC News: BA to axe one-third of managers British Airways is to cut almost 600 management jobs by March 2008, the UK airline has announced. The job losses - 35% of the group's 1,715 managerial posts - are the first big move by new chief executive Willie Walsh to cut the firm's costs.
Qck.com: Mortgage approvals rise Mortgage approvals were at their highest level for nearly 18 months in October, new figures have revealed. The Bank of England (BoE) has announced that Britons took out 113,000 mortgages worth £7.6 billion last month, suggesting that the housing market is stabilising.
FT: Money supply bolsters case for ECB rate rise “Money supply and excess liquidity are still there in spades and the acceleration in private sector credit reinforces the idea that the monetary policy stance is still stimulative,” said Neville Hill, economist at CSFB in London. “It will certainly be used to justify the rate hike that we are all expecting later this week and this strength is consistent with a few more rate rises in the year ahead.”
Reuters: Barclays cost rise takes shine off forecast ...He said Barclaycard rejected 55 percent of applications for UK cards, its highest rejection rate in recent years and above rejection rates of about 35 percent at the low end of the cycle...Kheraj said the rise in Barclaycard charges was because the average balance of delinquent accounts had risen, recovery rates for bad debts were lower and accounts had moved from delinquency to loss faster.
FT: OECD upbeat on world growth prospects The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development on Tuesday presented a relatively upbeat view of the prospects for the world’s 30 wealthiest nations but warned the risks to its expectation of a prolonged world expansion were “substantial”.
This Is Money: Barratt chief targets 'scruffy' Green Belt David Pretty's suggestions may cause alarm among conservationists, but the Barratt Developments chief executive says his idea is just one part of an 18-point plan aimed at loosening up the creaking planning system and creating more first-time buyers.
Reuters: House prices flat in November-Nationwide The annual rate of house price inflation slipped back to 2.4 percent after picking up to 3.3 percent in October -- a rise that both the Nationwide and analysts concluded was temporary. Richard McGuire at RBC Capital Markets called the figures "weaker than expected and supportive of the view that the recent uptick in house price inflation represents a short-lived response to the August rate cut."
Telegraph: Today's twentysomethings have never had it so bad Before the last election, I wrote about the iPod generation, plugged into their music players, seemingly oblivious to the world. No one cares about the young unless they are wearing hoodies, binge drinking, getting pregnant or failing dumbed-down GCSEs.
This is Money: Pensions fears boost buy-to-let The pensions crisis is boosting the buy-to-let market as investors opt to put their money into bricks and mortar, a trade body claimed today. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said many landlords viewed their rental properties as being a significant part of their pension.
BBC: Concerns over Indian oil output ONGC's oil output has stalled at about 520,000 barrels a day in the past couple of years and is expected to decline as older fields near the end of their productive lifespan. Mr Aiyar voiced concerns about a fall in domestic output at a time when India's rapidly expanding economy is fuelling huge demand for energy.
Channel 4: Majority of adults in 'debt denial' One in three people have admitted lying to their partner about their finances, according to new research. A poll of 2,700 adults revealed that most were in "debt denial", lying about their financial situation to family, friends and even financial advisors.
Money Week: Gordon Brown needs to face the reality of inflation The biggest public sector union, Unison has already said it is looking for “significant” wage increases. And if I was them I would be too. Brown may say that if you strip out oil, inflation hardly exists. But you can’t just strip out all the things going up in price and then say that inflation doesn’t exist. It does exist. And it isn’t going away...
Reuters: Investors attack retreat on reporting rules Investors reacted with surprise and dismay on Monday to a retreat by Chancellor Gordon Brown on a proposed change in corporate reporting rules meant to cut investment risk for shareholders...The OFR would have required companies to detail future strategy and risks, including non-financial information.
This is Money: Property prices end 16-month slide Further evidence the housing market is stabilising emerged today as a survey showed prices had ended their 16-month slide. Property website Hometrack said house prices remained static during November, ending 16 consecutive months of price falls.
The Economist: Giving thanks, despite the monetary murk The past week has brought signals of a shift in monetary policy in both Europe and America, leaving traders anticipating higher rates in the euro area and a levelling-off across the Atlantic. Monetary guardians are struggling to read the outlook for inflation, but things could be worse.
This Is Money: Weak pound spurs High Street gloom STERLING'S slide against the dollar is casting a cloud over the High Street for Christmas. Higher taxes, petrol costs, utility bills and interest rates have already hit consumer confidence. Now retailers face a profits squeeze as their pounds buy fewer cheap goods in the Far East.
Channel 4: Blacklist for loan default students Graduates who default on student loans could be blacklisted for credit if a proposed shift in policy gets the go-ahead. The Government's Student Loans Company (SLC) wants to change the rules so that it can pass on details of bad debtors to credit reference agencies.
Money Week: Oil prices – where now? With the background so different to just a few months ago, prices have fallen back from their peaks. Questions on whether this is the start of a gradual slide in prices are increasingly being asked. A slide in my view is unlikely because although on a day-to-day basis volatility in oil prices will continue, at the fundamental level it is probable that we are entering into a period of high energy costs.
Money Week: Who's who on the MPC The balance between hawks and doves on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has far-reaching implications for Britain’s economy – currently at a critical juncture, with slowing growth, subdued consumer spending, rising unemployment, a stagnant housing market, and inflation above target level.
Money Week: Housing bulls have got it wrong The second story of interest is the figures out from Nationwide showing that, by its measures, house prices are on the up again: if you believe the mortgage company’s figures, prices jumped 1.3% in October, pushing the annual rate of growth up to 3.3%. The newspapers faithfully reported this news with headlines suggesting that all is now well with the world...
Firstrung: Buy to let providers ask for rent to only match mortgage payment A substantial number of mortgage lenders have relaxed the terms of their buy-to-let deals, sparking concerns among industry experts that property investors are becoming increasingly vulnerable to small fluctuations in interest rates or modest hikes in unemployment. As competition in the buy-to-let market has intensified, many of the biggest providers have lowered the demands on the level of rental cover expected from their properties and lifted their levels of permitted borrowing as a proportion of the value of the property.
FT.com - UK growth set to be weakest since 1992: "The UK economy grew below trend for a fifth successive quarter in the three months to September as net trade disappointed but consumer spending appeared to have turned the corner, according to official figures published on Friday."
FT.com - King backs Brown on public pay restraint: "Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, gave his support to Gordon Brown's call for a limit on public-sector pay rises yesterday and warned all wage bargainers that the Bank intended to keep inflation at its target of 2 per cent."
Yahoo Finance: UK GDP figures below trend: "Britain's economy grew by 0.4% in the three months to September, making it almost certain chancellor Gordon Brown will have to revise down his economic projections in his December pre-Budget statement said economists"
Independent: King urges wage restraint in face of energy price rise The Bank of England yesterday issued a stark warning it would raise interest rate if workers won inflation-busting pay rises to offset the surge in energy costs. Mervyn King, the Bank's Governor, told MPs the Monetary Policy Committee would monitor both wage levels and oil and gas prices over the coming months.
Reuters: Bank's King says rates may rise Interest rates might have to go up if upside risks on inflation materialise, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said on Thursday.In testimony to parliament's Treasury Select Committee, King said October's dip in the inflation rate should not be interpreted as meaning that price pressures had necessarily peaked.
Reuters: No need for rate cut now, Walton says Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member David Walton said in a newspaper interview on Thursday he saw no pressing need for an interest rate cut now and the central bank could move rates in either direction. "I think the Committee is in a good position to react in either direction on interest rates depending on how the risk materialises," the Belfast-based Irish News newspaper quoted Walton as saying.
ThisisMoney: Cold snap could push oil price to new high THE oil price could rocket to fresh highs above $70 a barrel, City analysts warn today. They say an expected cold snap this winter will put renewed pressure on tight supplies, driving crude prices higher. Ongoing geopolitical tensions in the oil-rich Middle East will also buoy the market.
ThisisMoney: UK outpaced as economy falters THE scale of Britain's economic slowdown became clear last night as a report showed UK growth is now being outpaced by almost every other major country. The UK has fallen behind France and Germany and is only barely faster than Italy's struggling economy.
Independent: Brown warns public sector on pay rises as rate cut prospects fade Gordon Brown warned public sector unions yesterday not to seek inflation-busting pay rises as the Bank of England poured cold water on hopes of a festive cut in interest rates. The Chancellor wrote to the public sector pay bodies telling them to assume inflation would hit the 2 per cent target - even though it has been above that for four straight months.
NEWS.com.au: Sydney house prices falling House prices will keep falling in New South Wales as supply grows, helping buyers return to the market, a report released today shows. Figures from the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REI) show a decline in median house and unit prices in the September quarter in Sydney and NSW overall.
FirstRung.Com: Haart missing the beat The chief executive of the estate agency group Haart recently made available for publication his assumptions and predictions as to which direction he anticipates the UK housing market heading in 2006.
Reuters: Consumers to cut Christmas gift spending Scrooge may get the upper hand this Christmas as consumers expect to cut spending on gifts for the first time in a decade. And retailers hoping that a recent cold snap will rescue the crucial Christmas trading period are in for a disappointment - figures from consultants Deloitte suggested on Wednesday that Christmas gift spending would fall by 400 million pounds this year.
FT: BoE says uncertainty clouding rate outlook In deciding to stay its hand, the committee noted that there was uncertainty about prospects for consumption because “somewhat stronger retail sales and housing market indicators contrasted with weaker car sales and consumer confidence data.” However, Bank governor Mervyn King has let it be known he is unconvinced the UK consumer is as cowed as anecdotal evidence from the high street currently suggests.
Money Week: What’s likely to be in the Pre-Budget Report? ...and unemployment (if there’s anybody left who believes the official data)...Before suspiciously strong public finance data released on Friday 18th November...The ECJ is likely, in the near future, to rule on corporation tax. This could prove very significant according to Price Waterhouse Coopers
Reuters: Interest rates on hold for now Minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee's November 9 and 10 meeting published on Wednesday showed all 9 members voted to keep rates at 4.5 percent for the third month running, after not even discussing a move in either direction.
Reuters: Bank's Walton sees steady rates for now Echoing recent comments from other policymakers emphasising that keeping inflation in check is the central bank's prime remit, Walton dismissed businesses' pleas for lower rates to boost consumer spending, which he said was in any case picking up. "We are seeing some signs that the economy is recovering. We also have to be careful though because inflation is above target and we need to make sure it comes back to target,"
Times: Home is where the disaster is I was staring miserably into a bowl of porridge yesterday morning when suddenly my despair lifted and the world seemed a brighter place. It was all because I had just read that house prices are rising again, by 3.3 per cent over the past 12 months, according to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. "Confidence is back," one estate agent was bragging. "Once again, pessimists have been left out in the cold."
Telegraph: Factories cut output as gas costs surge 40pc to new high Manufacturers were putting the brakes on production last night in an attempt to save money as wholesale gas prices surged 40pc to record highs yesterday. Total, the French gas supplier, said that UK power stations and factories were cutting production this week to reduce their demand for gas.
Guardian: Brown to face down critics over economy Gordon Brown plans to face down critics of his handling of the economy when he uses next month's pre-budget report to claim that Britain has emerged relatively unscathed from the problems caused by the tripling of the global oil price and the sharp slowdown in the housing market.
BBC NEWS | Business | Dixons group sees tough trading Dixons-owner DSG International has warned of continued tough trading as it reported a dip in underlying sales. Like-for-like sales - which ignore new store openings - for the 28 weeks to 12 November fell 3%. Total sales rose 4%
SKY News: Brits Opt Out Of Pension Nearly half of Britons are not bothering with pensions. Many of those say there is no point in making any provision for their retirement, because they have no faith in the system.
National Association of Estate Agents: HOUSING MARKET TIGHTENS IN OCTOBER ...However, the average difference between asking price and sale price increased in October demonstrating that sellers still need to be more realistic about prices ...the number of house buyers on NAEA agents’ books fell by 0.5% in October, from 375 to 373 buyers per agent. This is compared with 551 per agent in October 2004 ...The first time buyer share of the market dropped to 9% in October.
Sunday Times: The Market Housebuilding figures across Britain have slumped, according to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. There were 45,300 new homes started in the three months to October, down 1% on the same period of 2004. Only 37,800 homes were completed, down 5%. The largest falls in completions were in London and northwest England.
This Is Money: Key-worker homes standing empty ...new figures revealed one in three key worker homes is standing empty. Housing minister Yvette Cooper revealed 36% of key worker homes in London and 35% in the wider South East are empty. More than half have been empty for more than three months.
This Is Money: Cheap flats give new buyers hope ...Financial Mail has learned that the costs of newly built, smaller apartments are coming under heavy pressure. 'In the South and the Midlands, prices are down 10, 15 or 20% in some cases,' said one source.
Times: City bonuses boost house sales The prospect of fat City bonuses this winter is electrifying the upmarket London property market, a report suggests today. Luxury homes that have been languishing on estate agents’ books for months are being snapped up for well above their asking prices, estate agents say.
SKY News:Let is snow, let it snow Get your snow boots out, make sure your fridge is stocked with soup and your freezer is full of bread - the chance of snow this week is 100%. According to forecasters, most of Britain will be blanketed with the white stuff from Thursday.
BBC News: Car giant GM to cut 30,000 staff US carmaker General Motors is to cut 30,000 jobs in North America under a restructuring drive that aims to revive the company. The automotive group, which is struggling to stem huge losses, will also close down nine assembly, stamping and Powertrain engine-maker facilities.
Reuters: House prices rise - Rightmove Average asking prices on a home rose for the second straight month from mid-October to mid-November on rising turnover, suggesting that confidence is returning to the market, a report said on Monday.
Firstrung.com: RICS, "Buyers still retain the balance of power" So the endless to and fro of property market news in the form of reports shows no sign of abating. Waiting, crouched over their pcs, endless property journalists crack their knuckles before the onsett of carpal tunnel syndrome renders them incapable of issuing more misguided spin in record time.
SKY News: Oil prices resume climb Oil prices gained after slipping to their lowest level in five months in the previous session. Some analysts are predicting the front-month contract has found a bottom.
BBC News: Trichet: 'interest rates to rise' Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), has hinted that interest rates could rise soon. The ECB has maintained interest rates at 2% for five years, but this could soon change, he suggested.
Morgan Stanley: Asian Complacency Back in Asia for the second time in a month, I have heard two recurring (and related) themes -- amazement at the ever-resilient American consumer and astonishment over the dollar’s strength.
Housing boom: All's not bright - rediff.com: "The retail credit translates into a housing boom driven by EMI financing. That causes a bubble where real estate prices inflate over several years. At some stage, rental yields drop way below the cost of servicing loans on property of equivalent cost."
Credit Action: November Debt Stats The rapid increase in households’ borrowing has raised total debt to close to 150% of annualised aggregate post-tax income according to the Bank of England. They predict debt may continue to increase more rapidly than income over the next few years.
BBC News: Supply fears amid gas price surge Prices of wholesale gas have almost doubled during the past week, prompting fears about winter supplies to the UK. Prices hit an eight month high of 80p a therm, sharply higher than last week's price of 43p, before dipping slightly.
This is Money: Mortgage lending near record high Mortgage lending fell by 3% in October to an estimated £27bn, according to the latest data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Though this is down from September's £27.7bn, it is still one of the highest monthly lending figures on record, and 16% higher than the £23.2bn figure for last October.
BBC News: October mortgage lending steady Mortgage lending was steady last month, according to the latest figures from major industry bodies. The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said gross new lending dropped by 3% to £27bn, although that was still 16% up on October last year.
The Move Channel: House prices to fall in 2006, then level out Nationwide Building Society forecasts that house prices could fall in the first part of next year but return later, giving flat growth over the year. The prediction came as Nationwide reported a rise in pre-tax profits to £255m for the six months to 30 September, from £224m last year.
Reuters: King says retail sales recovering slowly The outlook for consumer spending is a little bit better than last year and retail sales are recovering slowly, although it will not be a boom Christmas, Bank Governor Mervyn King said on Friday.
My Finances: UK falling out of love with property And when this study is narrowed to only include people who are actively investing in the property market, just one in eleven thinks that house prices will rise faster than shares in 2006... "We believe the repeated warnings about a property slow-down are beginning to have an impact but it’s a concern that many people are still banking on property prices rising."
This Is Money: Chaos fear over home packs ...With the cost of the compulsory packs for sellers expected to be £1,000, the CML said people will bring forward attempts to sell their homes to before the deadline, creating a spike in the market. Experts have also predicted potential buyers could act the other way and try to delay purchases until after the deadline, leading to a glut of homes for sale in the months before packs are introduced.
Reuters: Retail sales rise modestly ...But retailers appear to be achieving volume growth at the expense of their profit margins. Prices were on average 1.1 percent lower than a year earlier, the biggest decline since February. As such, the figures are unlikely to settle the debate about whether the next move in interest rates will be up or down.
Reuters: Unsure of next rate move -King The Monetary Policy Committee has no pre-set idea of where interest rates are headed Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said on Thursday. "Where will interest rates go next? I don't know," King told a meeting of business people and community leaders in Birmingham.
BBC News: Shanghai's cautious property buyers Song Yu, a physician in a Shanghai hospital, and his wife are looking to buy their first home. Song Yu earns $1000 (£582) a month, which is more than 10 times the average Chinese salary.
Firstrung.com: Postcard from Blackpool As a parent of two twentysomethings, very close to thirtysomethings, I now find myself in the unenviable position of selling my own family house to fund the purchase of a retirement bungalow.
This Is Money: Buy-to-let firm shut down A COMPANY that promised to help people build up multi-million pound portfolios by investing in property in Turkey and Spain was today wound up after an investigation showed it appeared to be fraudulent.
MyFinances.Co.UK: Sellers cut property prices Property prices in the UK are falling, despite an increase in buyer activity, new figures show...increasing buyer interest has still not fully compensated for previous falls. The number of property transactions is still only up eight per cent from its February low and is five per cent down on last year.
Sunday Times: The Market The Halifax bank says recent small increases in house prices in some regions will not lead to another long-term wave of property inflation. “This year’s slowdown in the pace of UK economic growth and the historically high level of house prices relative to average earnings are expected to curb the recent improvement in housing demand and prevent a marked pick-up in prices,” says Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis.
Reuters: Slower fall for house prices - RICS RICS...cautioned that demand was improving from a very low base and did not signal a strong revival. "The return to more balanced market conditions is welcome, though negotiations between buyers and sellers remain hard, and over-priced property continues to remain unsold," said RICS spokesman Jeremy Leaf. "A return to boom conditions is not at all evident."
EconomicsUK.Com: How to blow £50 billion without really trying After a busy week Brown is said to relax by watching recordings of some of the television programmes he missed, particularly football matches. I doubt, however, he set the video for last week’s Dispatches programme on Channel Four. Presented by Andrew Dilnot, the former director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, it was a comprehensive indictment of Brown’s period in office.
BBC News: UK inflation drops back to 2.3% UK inflation has fallen for the first time since September 2004, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show. Inflation measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) dipped to 2.3% in October from 2.5% a month earlier.
Guardian: Mortgage brokers still let borrowers inflate salaries Some mortgage brokers are still letting self-employed borrowers inflate their salaries to obtain bigger home loans, according to a report by the financial watchdog. The FSA said its study into self-certification loans, which allow borrowers to estimate their income without supplying documentation such as wage slips, found "significant weaknesses" in brokers' advice and selling of the loans.
Guardian: Asda struggling as it admits to flat sales Asda, which is struggling to maintain its position as the UK's number-two supermarket group, yesterday revealed sales in the third quarter were "essentially flat". The group's owner, the United States' Wal-Mart, also admitted that Asda had failed to meet expectations in the three-month period to end-October, when its market share had also failed to improve.
Telegraph: Taxman to snoop in your home Council tax inspectors will be able to enter people's homes and take photographs even of their bedrooms, it emerged yesterday. Whitehall documents reveal that they will be allowed to "obtain factual information from internal inspections" as part of the enormous exercise to revalue 22 million properties in England.
Independent: The cost of public sector pensions is twice the national debt. Is that a crisis or isn't it? Is there a pensions crisis or isn't there? Analysis published over the past two weeks by separate think-tanks appears to give conflicting answers. According to a report by Tomorrow's Company, a business funded think-tank, there is no pensions crisis. A decent, state- funded, citizen's pension for all should be affordable, the writers argue, provided productivity and labour market participation continue to improve as they have done in the past.
Reuters: Factory gate inflation weakens Factory gate inflation slowed to its weakest rate in 4 months in October, easing concerns about rising price pressures and boosting expectations of another Bank of England interest rate cut.
News.com.au: House prices up In a move that could be an indicator for the rest of the country, Sydney house prices have made their first significant rebound in 18 months, according to data from property statistics firm Residex. Sydney house prices lifted 2.24 per cent over the three months to the end of October, the data showed.
FirstRung.Co.UK: Horror at the builders' merchant ...The official data on consumer spending hasn't been too grim, and the housing market, while slow, is not a write-off. Then came the Travis Perkins horror show yesterday: a double-digit decline in like-for-like sales at Wickes and an admission that the market is far worse than previously imagined.
SKY News: House Hunters Waiting To Buy One in five people put off buying a house in the hope that prices would fall, but nearly three-quarters said costs actually increased while they waited, research has shown.
Firstrung.com: Construction growth halved in two years The construction industry is forecast to go into decline next year. BDO Stoy Hayward's latest Industry Watch predicts growth of just 2.8% in 2006 and 2.3% in 2007. This year growth continued from 3.7% in 2004 to 6%.
Firstrung.com: Show me the money! Firstrung recently came across this suggested advice offered by an internet service provider. The list of questions has one glaring omission, the one question that above all renders the others pointless.
Money Week: The hidden risks in commercial property Benjamin Graham developed his own core principles, one of which was “The market is a pendulum that forever swings between unsustainable optimism (which makes investments too expensive) and unjustified pessimism (which makes investments too cheap).
Economist: Recycling the petrodollars ...A transfer of income from oil consumers to oil producers will therefore lead to a slowdown in global demand ...The International Energy Agency gave warning this week that oil prices will keep rising over the next two decades unless the region's producers invest substantially more than they currently intend.
CNN Money: The Fed's housing aim No Federal Reserve official could ever publicly admit it, though everyone in the financial world seems to believe that it's true: the Fed is going to raise rates until it's taken the heat out of the housing market.
MyFinances.Co.UK: Save 10% on house prices Savvy buyers can save as much as ten per cent on the asking price of a house, according to new figures. Home buying service The County Homesearch Company reveals that its agents, acting on behalf of buyers, have been receiving this level of discount on properties across the country.
FirstRung.Com: Making an offer they can`t refuse Are you unsure as to how best to make that offer? You could do worse than adopt this suggested template which proved to be very successful for a recent buyer known to Firstrung... "My offer is just under 30% under your asking price..." [scroll right down to bottom of page-DG]
ThisisMoney: Job fears hit consumer confidence CONSUMER confidence has fallen to a new low as people worry about the state of the economy and job prospects, research showed today. Nationwide Building Society said its consumer confidence index had fallen for the third consecutive month during October to 92 - its lowest level since the group launched it in May last year.
Guardian: A slowdown will expose the economy's soft underbelly Brown's own future is threatened by sluggish growth, a hole in the public finances and stagnant manufacturing. There were echoes of Denis Healey for Gordon Brown as he hurriedly returned from Israel yesterday with the government in crisis. Healey famously had to abandon a trip to Washington as the country appeared to face economic meltdown in the autumn of 1976.
TimesOnline: FSA warns it cannot police consumer credit THE Financial Services Authority gave warning yesterday that giving it responsibility for policing consumer credit could overwhelm its resources. Consumers bodies have been calling for the FSA to regulate consumer credit as British households wrestle with a debt mountain that has soared through the £1 trillion mark.
Firstrung.com: 100% mortgages under attack The Consumers' Association of Ireland has strongly attacked 100 per cent mortgages, claiming it is reckless and irresponsible for lenders to be touting these mortgages.
ThisisMoney: Rate freeze on the cards THE Bank of England's monetary policy committee kicks off its latest two-day meeting today amid signs that the economy may be over the worst.JANE PADGHAM looks at what's on the MPC's agenda ahead of its interest rate decision at midday tomorrow.
ThisisMoney: £300,000 for a house in London THE average price of a London home has topped £300,000 for the first time. And prices are set to rise further, with two leading estate agents predicting increases of between 3% and 7% next year. Property experts are confident that London has escaped the widely-feared crash. Figures published by the Land Registry show prices rose 4.5% last year - enough to push the average figure to £300,329.
BBC NEWS | UK | Defence shake-up hits 1,900 jobs Nearly 2,000 jobs are to be cut in a shake-up of defence repair and maintenance services. The Defence Aviation Repair Agency's (Dara) fast-jet site in St Athan, south Wales, will close with 500 job losses, armed forces minister Adam Ingram said.
Reuters: Economy grows by 0.4 pct - NIESR The economy probably grew by 0.4 percent in the three months to October, matching an upwardly revised 0.4 percent in the previous three-month period, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said. "Although growth remains low the National Institute is of the view that an interest rate cut is inappropriate and that in the medium run interest rates are more likely to rise than fall,"
FirstRung.Com: Leaving on a jet plane, just one problem, how is your house sale going? There can surely be no more motivated sellers than those wishing to move abroad. If any one can shift their properties in double quick time then it must be those that will sacrifice some short term profit in return for sunnier climates and an altogether better standard of living. Or so you`d think, a quick browse on the Britishexpats forum reveals just how difficult it is to sell in the current climate, unless you drop your price substantially.
Yahoo: US Mortgage rates hit 18-month high Mortgage rates have gone up for the eighth week in a row. The benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose 13 basis points to 6.37 percent, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders.
TheTrumpet.Com: The Biggest Bubble Ever ...Some say that this is an anomaly attributable to very low mortgage interest rates. That actually supports the view that housing prices are in a bubble since interest rates cannot stay low indefinitely, especially with high federal government budget deficits projected into the foreseeable future. Without substantial growth in disposable incomes to offset interest rate increases, current prices are unsustainable.
Sunday Times: The Market Average property prices will stagnate in 2006, estate agent Savills will announce this week. Although prices will rise in central London, southeast England and Scotland, they will dip slightly across the rest of Britain, especially in northern England, leaving national averages largely unchanged. The firm predicts changes allowing homes to be purchased through Sipps from April will boost buy-to-let but make little impact on the wider market.
TimesOnline: CBI attacks Brown's spending THE CBI has mounted a pre-emptive attack on Gordon Brown’s spending plans ahead of the Pre-Budget Report, in an effort to stave off any increase in the tax burden on business. The employers’ group today issues a report claiming that new tax rises paid directly or indirectly by business since 1997 have added a total of £51 billion to the burden on UK companies. By 2010, business will have paid nearly £80 billion extra because of the Chancellor’s tax rises.
BBC NEWS | Business | Brown 'must cut public spending' Employers' organisation the CBI has warned the chancellor that he must cut back on his public spending plans. It says that the government needs to close a £10bn budget black hole in order to secure the public finances.
DailyTelegraph: Property prices will keep plunging - expert ONE of Australia's leading property experts has made a brutal warning: Get out of the real estate market now. Aussie Home Loans managing director John Symond believes the market is yet to bottom and people should sell now to avoid major losses. Mr Symond said the property market on the eastern seaboard would continue its downward spiral longer than people expect. He predicted prices would drop another 10 per cent in the next year. "I think it will be a four- to five-year cycle before we see prices starting to head up again," he said.
ThisisMoney: Brown's new tax on the dead CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown is being accused of fleecing the dead by imposing a super-tax on pension payouts that are intended to cover funeral expenses. The punishing 55% tax, to be brought in next April, will affect anyone who has a large occupational or personal pension and whose scheme pays out a lump sum on death.
Telegraph: Government to tax the view from your house Having a nice view or living next door to a golf course are going to cost householders more in council tax under Labour plans. Taxpayers are set to be charged hundreds of pounds extra a year if they are in a conservation area, next to an open space, have a swimming pool or tennis court or enjoy full or partial views of the sea, hills, mountains, lakes or rivers.
Independent: Building projects could go to the wall as material costs leap by 20 per cent Housebuilders and construction companies are to be hit by massive price rises on key building materials - with staples such as cement and asphalt potentially jumping by as much as one fifth. Blaming spiralling energy and raw material costs, supply heavyweights Hanson, Cemex, Aggregate Industries and the Tarmac Group are telling customers to expect price hikes of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent on such materials as asphalt, mortar products, concrete and cement from 1 January.
TimesOnline: Retailers fear doom-mongers will hurt sales LEADING retailers have told Kevin Hawkins, director-general of the British Retail Consortium, to stop the doom-mongering. They fear that the warnings of dire Christmas trading will tempt consumers to hold out to the last minute in the hope that retailers will lose their nerve and start their sales before December 25.
Reuters: October house prices flat House prices were unchanged in October but the annual rate of increase edged up to a five-month high, the nation's largest mortgage lender said on Friday, in further evidence of a stabilising property market. HBOS said in its Halifax house price survey that prices were flat after a 1.1 percent monthly rise in September while the annual increase in the three months to October hit its highest since May at 3.9 percent, up from 3.0 percent the month before.
Telegraph: Easier bankruptcy 'fuels debt culture' An easing of the bankruptcy laws has encouraged the "buy now, pay later" culture, debt specialists said yesterday as government figures showed that personal insolvencies were at their highest on record. Four out of five individual bankruptcies this year have been voluntary, as people increasingly choose it as a method of debt management. This year's rise was driven by 20- to 30-year-olds who have no assets but unsustainable levels of credit card debt, specialists said.
Independent: Car sales crash for tenth month in row Sales of new cars plunged last month as the consumer slowdown hit the UK's forecourts, keeping private buyers away from the market. Figures released yesterday show that registrations in October fell by 11 per cent to 152,497, making it the tenth consecutive month when the new car market has contracted.
Guardian: Britons going bust: total soars by 46% in a year The number of people filing for insolvency in Britain rose by almost 50% to new record levels over the past year as consumers struggled to cope with the debts amassed in recent years, according to government figures released yesterday. The Citizens Advice Bureau said it was coping with more than a million cases of serious indebtedness after a decade in which consumers have taken advantage of cheap credit to finance a prolonged spending spree.
TimesOnline: Insolvency figures at highest on record THE scale of the debt crisis among the young, poor and vulnerable became apparent yesterday as it emerged that the number of people declaring themselves insolvent has reached record levels. Figures from the Department of Trade and Industry showed a dramatic rise in bankruptcies and individual voluntary agreements (IVAs), a common alternative to bankruptcy. Company liquidations had also reached record levels.
BBC NEWS | Business | Greggs shares hit by slow sales Shares in the UK's largest bakery chain, Greggs, fell nearly 5% after the firm said tough trading conditions on the High Street had slowed sales. Greggs added that its profits for the second half of 2005 were currently lower than last year.
BBC NEWS | UK | '1.5m more' face inheritance tax Rising house prices are to leave 1.5 million more people liable to pay inheritance tax, research suggests. It means the number of people paying the tax would soar by 70% from around 2m in 2002 to 3.5m in 2009. Financial advisors Grant Thornton and economists Lombard Street Research say the inheritance tax threshold had not kept pace with Britons' growing wealth.
Times: Bankruptcies soar to record levels The number of people going bankrupt has soared to its highest level since records began in the 1960s, raising fears that consumers are increasingly failing to cope with Britain's £1 trillion personal debt burden.
Telegraph: Brown fiddles as our orchestras burn You will never get rich by becoming an orchestral musician, and your chances of a stable career in that profession have just been radically diminished by a decision on the part of HM Revenue and Customs to pursue Britain's orchestras for some £33m of employers' National Insurance contributions dating back to 1998, writes Martin Vander Weyer.
Independent: Interest rate rises now on the horizon in UK and eurozone The next move in interest rates could be upwards on both sides of the Channel, analysts said yesterday, in the wake of bullish comments by the head of the European Central Bank and a surge in the UK's service sector. In a briefing after the ECB left its main rate unchanged at 2 per cent, Jean-Claude Trichet, its president, insisted several times that rates "could move at any time". He said: "Inflation risks are on the upside. The solid anchoring of inflation expectations is of the essence."
BBC News: Pace of house price rises quicken House price inflation rose in October, for the third month in a row, according to the latest survey from the Halifax. Prices were unchanged between September and October, but compared with a year ago they have now risen by 3.9%.
This Is Money: Homes that cost £60,000 ...But just as estate agents can neglect to mention toxic dumps and noisy neighbours, there is a catch with Prezza's grand designs. While it might cost £60,000 to build one of these homes, experts warn the sale prices will be much higher - perhaps double - especially in the South-East.
Motley Fool: How Much Is Your House Really Worth? A brand-new online service launched today allows homeowners, homebuyers and investors to find a property's current market value to a level of accuracy only previously available to mortgage lenders.
FT: Greenspan warns of inflation uncertainty Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman, gave an upbeat assessment yesterday of the outlook for growth in the US economy but warned of an “uncertain” outlook for inflation.
BBC NEWS | Magazine | On the doorstep A rise in mortgage repossession orders means one group of people are busy - bailiffs. So what's it like to get that knock on the door? The hanging baskets and potted plants which decorate the front of the smart, semi-detached house give no indication of the unhappiness within.
FT.Com: UK services data reduce likelihood of rate cut The likelihood of the Bank of England delivering an interest rate cut this month has been reduced by news of a stronger than expected expansion in the UK service sector. Data published by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing Managers and the Royal Bank of Scotland, showed the headline Business Activity Index improved to a three-month high of 56.1 in October, compared to expectations of it remaining steady at 55.0. A figure above 50 indicates expansion; a number below 50 contraction.
Telegraph: Deutsche Telekom plans to axe 32,000 jobs A further round of job cuts swept Europe's telecoms industry yesterday as Deutsche Telekom announced plans to shed 32,000 over three years as part of a €3.3billion (£2.24bn) cost-cutting programme.The German telecoms firm also ended speculation that it might spark a bidding war for Britain's O2, but rumours turned to a possible Deutsche move for Eircom after Ireland's largest phone group said it had received a takeover approach. The German company said most of the job losses will be in its fixed-line operation, T-Com, which faces stiff competition from rivals and a fall in business as consumers make more use of mobile phones.
Reuters.com: Volcker urges inflation vigilance Rising inflation in the United States remains a concern and the newly-nominated head of the Federal Reserve will have his hands full dealing with it, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker said on Tuesday.
Reuters: Construction growth slows sharply - CIPSConstruction growth slowed sharply in October to its weakest pace in five months as home- building activity contracted for the first time in almost half a year, a survey showed on Wednesday. The Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply said its seasonally adjusted index for construction fell to 53.9 in October from 57.2 the month before
ThisisMoney: Web death knell for 110 travel agencies HIGH Street travel agents suffered another blow today as Airtours owner MyTravel announced the closure of 110 Going Places sites.MyTravel chief executive Peter McHugh said customers were increasingly booking holidays online and refused to rule out further closures among the 500 outlets that remain.
ThisisMoney: High St left crying out for customers THE slump on the High Street shows no sign of stopping, with the biggest fall in shopper numbers for six years. Shopping trips in October were 2.9 per cent down on last year and the lowest level since 1999, according to a study by retail analysts SPSL. A separate survey by the Confederation of British Industry found that sales fell for the fifth month in a row.
Independent: Retail gloom overshadows housing gains The schizophrenic nature of the UK economic recovery was exposed yesterday by figures showing a surge in house prices and factory orders but a fall in retail sales and shopper numbers that pointed to another dire Christmas for the high street. House prices posted their sharpest increase in 15 months in October, Nationwide building society said. The 1.3 per cent rise pushed up the annual rate for the first time since June last year, from 1.8 per cent in September to 3.3 per cent last month
Guardian: Matalan deepens high street gloom The gloom engulfing the high street was underlined yesterday as the discount fashion retail chain Matalan unveiled a decline in recent sales of more than 10% and new shopper data showed October was the quietest month for stores for more than six years.
BBC NEWS | UK | Warning over council tax increase Council tax bills in England could increase by 10% next year unless the government provides more funding, according to a new report. The Local Government Association says inadequate grant increases will leave a shortfall to be paid for by tax payers.
Reuters.com: Fed raises rates, signals more to come The Federal Reserve on Tuesday raised U.S. interest rates to the highest in four years and signaled it still had leeway to tighten monetary policy, while data showed U.S. factories ran at a robust pace in October.
FirstRung.Com: Shocking results from recent N.E. property auction The results for the recent auction in the North East, held by one of the largest estate agent groups in the area, would confirm that Auctions are losing their appeal for both Vendors and buyers alike. The lack of sales cannot be blamed on property being too expensive, most Auctioneers will advise the vendor to place a very realistic, if not low reserve price on the property, in order that interest is stimulated on the day. The low sales, only 25 out of 108 sold on the day, does beg the question, where have all the buyers gone?
FirstRung.com: Nationwide figures, the full story Fionnuala Earley, issues a cautious statement with her notes. The fact remains that property values across the range have increased by only 0.2% over the past three months. Fionnuala also mentions the involvement of the MPC and the affect they could have on the housing market. Should they discharge their principal remit of controlling inflation and put this responsibility ahead of the lobbying of business leaders for a rate cut to stimulate spending, then an interest rate rise is inevitable. Inflation is currently 25% above the target rate.
ThisisMoney: Stamp duty nets £5.5bn a year Homebuyers paid a record £5.5bn in stamp duty last year. The Chancellor's money-spinning stealth tax has soared by nearly 50% in a year, with buyers in the South East of England bearing the brunt. When Labour came to power in 1997, the tax on buying a house raised £675m. Gordon Brown's decision to raise stamp duty rates four times in four years means it is now worth more than eight times this amount, Government figures yesterday showed.
ThisisMoney: Critics slam seller packs HOME information packs will put families looking to sell their houses at risk from 'cowboy' inspectors, it was claimed yesterday.The planned change to the way houses are bought and sold will provide 'a breeding ground' for unqualified surveyors, critics said. Inspectors will compile £350 'home condition reports' for the packs. But while chartered surveyors need at least five years' training before they can work professionally surveying homes, the 7,000 home inspectors will be trained for a maximum of 18 months on a part-time basis.
Independent: 'Devastating' winter ahead, says chemicals giant The British chemicals group Ineos has warned a parliamentary inquiry that business in this country faces a "devastating energy crunch" this winter. The company said that a cold winter would lead to "massive" rises in the price of gas, which "is very likely to put many manufacturers out of business for good".
Guardian: A harsh winter in store for retailers The prospect of a tough Christmas ahead for retailers loomed large last night after it was revealed that confidence among Britain's consumers has fallen to its lowest levels since the launch of the war in Iraq two and a half years ago.
BBC NEWS | Business | Nationwide sees house prices rise House prices picked up in October but it is too early to say the market has reached a turning point, according to the Nationwide building society. Its latest property survey found prices rose by 1.3% in October, raising the annual growth rate to 3.3% from September's figure of 1.8%.
Guardian: Why worry? There seems to be any number of reasons The most arresting remark about the market last week was made by Roger Guy, one of those anonymous masters of the universe from the world of hedge funds whose views carry weight for the simple reason that he has a superb investment record.