The "P" word amongst Polite Society Whenever in a group situation with friends or relatives above a certain age, it is fascinating to witness just how rapidly the topics move on to reach the inevitable "house price discussion".
Telegraph: The bigger the better The "3 G" family is on the rise. Expensive housing, poor childcare and inadequate pensions mean grandparents are living with their children and bringing up their grandchildren.
Rochdale Observer: Tenants face rent rise almost triple inflation Tenants in Rochdale Council housing face rent rises of nearly three times the rate of inflation. Last week’s cabinet meeting approved proposals to increase the rents on council properties by an average of five per cent. Some are going up by as much as 5.7 per cent.
FT: Air of caution prevails over the Dow ...an inversion of the US Treasury yield curve, which has historically heralded the start of a slowdown in the economy, provided a catalyst for a slide among the leading indices. Investors remained on edge throughout the week as the yields on 10-year US Treasuries continued to venture below those on two-year paper, sustaining fears that the economy would falter in 2006.
FT: Russia prepares to turn off gas to Ukraine The dispute has demonstrated Russia's increasing self-confidence as one of the world's biggest energy suppliers, but provoked alarm in western Europe, which gets 25 per cent of its gas from Russia - most of it through the massive Brotherhood pipeline across Ukraine.
Channel 4: Stricter bank loans guidance mulled Banks could face curbs on the way they sell credit cards and loans following concerns from the industry watchdog, it has emerged. The Banking Code Standards Board has expressed concerns that banks were not going to sufficient lengths to ensure consumers could afford repayments when they advanced them further credit.
BBC News: New year property market tips An expert explains how buyers and sellers can best make the housing market work for them in 2006. The New Year usually brings an upsurge in housing market activity.
Reuters: House prices have worst year in decade The housing market suffered its worst year in a decade in 2005 but signs are growing that conditions are picking up after a sharp slowdown, data from the Nationwide building society showed on Friday.
Telegraph: New car sales skid to under 2.5m Sales of new cars have tumbled at their fastest rate for more than 11 years as private car buyers have been deserting forecourts in their thousands this year. The grim picture is set to continue with sales on course to fall further next year, official figures will show next week.
BBC News: Housing market sees higher growth House prices rose 0.5% in December, according to Nationwide, evidence of a slight strengthening in the market. The rise was higher than November's 0.3% increase but overall price growth in 2005 was 3%, well down on the 12% annual increase seen in 2004.
FT.Com: UK banks may face curbs on selling Banks face a possible clampdown on sales practices after a banking watchdog identified concerns about the way some loans and credit cards are being sold. The Banking Code Standards Board launched an inquiry earlier this year into whether bank staff were mis-selling loans and credit cards to consumers
ThisisMoney: Shoppers shy away from big purchases CONSUMERS are less confident than at any time since the Iraq war of March 2003. They are worried about their finances and reluctant to make major purchases, according to market research group Gfk NOP.Its findings came as sales of new cars fell 5% in 2005, the biggest drop since 1994. However, the High Street is reporting buoyant sales, suggesting the economic picture is more complex.
Firstrung.com: You`re not singing anymore... The property boom in the last three years has caused the creation of several informative forum based websites that discuss specific property issues. The Motley Fool has long been the destination for those interested in property matters, equally the F.T. forums have provided intelligent discussion opportunities.
Housepricecrash.co.uk: BBC Radio Interviews HPC's press spokesman conducted 3 BBC radio interviews today commenting on the latest relase of housing figures from Hometrack. You can listen to 2 of the interviews on the website.
NZ Herald: Ambiguous advice for world economy 2006 Don't hold your breath waiting for the stormy end feared for global economic imbalances in 2006, but don't lose sight of them either. That is the ambiguous message from economists who, after three years of debate, are no closer to consensus on the threat posed by record United States international deficits and the counterbalancing stockpile of Asian foreign currency reserves.
Telegraph: Retailers braced for casualties A clutch of leading retailers and analysts have warned that despite the return of shoppers to the high street, many chains will be lucky to survive the Christmas and New Year trading period unscathed.
BBC News: Delta pilots agree to 14% pay cut Pilots at troubled US airline Delta have voted to approve a 14% pay cut to help the bankrupt carrier survive an expected cash crunch. Atlanta-based Delta, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, said the interim measure would save $143m (£83m) a year.
IFAOnline: Mortgage lending strong during November says BBA Gross mortgage lending stood at £18bn in November, according to the latest figures from the British Bankers Association (BBA). This was among the highest on record and 23% higher than the £14.6bn of November 2004 says the BBA. November’s gross lending was 2.5% higher than October’s total of £17.5bn.
Firstrung.com: Huff..puff...it may still blow down The last major correction in house prices was measured over a four year period. In order to rebut the article an argument could just as easily be put forward that the UK has experienced the start of an economic cycle which will result in prices falling further.
Times: House price rally defies the huffers and puffers Predictions of a property slowdown have faded away, with analysts almost united today in declaring house prices to be on the rise again. Gloomy forecasts at the beginning of 2005 have gradually been reversed during the year with the last major price monitor coming into line by reporting an above inflation rise.
TimesOnline: Struggling retailers at risk as rent collectors come knocking INSOLVENCY experts have predicted a spate of failures among retailers soon after Christmas. December 25 is “quarter day”, when rent is due, and struggling outlets could face collapse. In the week before Christmas, Unwins, the off-licence chain, and MVC, a DVD and music retailer, called in administrators. Several businesses, including Forminster, the UK franchise-holder for the Kookai brand, are believed to be facing problems.
Daily FX: ‘Inverted Yield Curve’ Possibility Spooks Markets US Dollar - Thin volume helped the greenback push past a handful of the majors against dour economic data for the world’s largest economy. Pushing aside a suggestion of slowed future activity in the Washington D.C. region and a brief realization of an inverted yield curve, traders bid the greenback higher in attempts to capture further carry trade potential before the new year.
Guardian : Growth statistics point to a year more reminiscent of sackcloth than Ashes 'Oil tanker' theory suggests 2006 might turn out better than the pundits predict. In many ways, looking back over 2005, it would be better to think of England winning the Ashes, Darren Gough winning Strictly Come Dancing or the brilliance of Bleak House. In terms of the economy, this year is really one best forgotten. Growth was poor, unemployment started rising after years of decline and manufacturing is back in the doldrums.
Scotsman.com: House prices rise after 18 months House prices rose for the first time in 18 months during December as consumers became more confident in the market, according to new figures. Property website Hometrack said the average cost of a home in England and Wales edged ahead by 0.1% during the month to average £160,900.
This is Money: Our New Year's money-savers New Year's resolutions are easy to make when you're drinking champagne and toasting the New Year, but when the party's over and you're nursing a hangover, which ones will you actually make an effort to keep?
Firstrung.com: Credit card debt catches up with Britons This Christmas season, the hottest-selling gifts in Europe are pricey American products such as iPods, the Xbox 360 and celebrity-inspired fashions. That kind of shopping has led to a very American problem: credit card debt.
TimesOnline: Shoppers fail to deliver late boost for high street CHRISTMAS EVE failed to deliver a last-minute reprieve for retailers this year. Although it fell on a Saturday, the number of shoppers on the high street was reported to be 18 per cent down compared with Christmas Eve last year. The much-anticipated final dash to the high street did not materialise, according to figures from FootFall, which found that shoppers instead had opted to shop for last-minute gifts on Friday.
New York Times - Take It From Japan: Bubbles Hurt FOURTEEN years ago, Yoshihisa Nakashima looked at this sleepy suburb an hour and 20 minutes from downtown Tokyo and saw all the trappings of middle-class Japanese bliss: cherry-tree-lined roads, a cozy community where neighbors greeted one another in the morning and schools within easy walking distance for his two daughters
This Is Money: Shops hurt by bargain hunters CHRISTMAS shoppers' reluctance to hit the High Street has hit retailers hard with city experts fretting over the firms behind major store chains. A gloomy year for the High Street has worsened in the run up to Christmas, as stores were forced to bring forward their sales in the face of gift-buying brinkmanship by bargain hunting shoppers.
This Is Money: Will you be able to sell in 2006? PROPERTY predictions come thick and fast at this time of year and the only consensus the experts have reached to is to agree to disagree. House price forecasts from major industry players have ranged from gloomy prophecies of falling prices to optimistic anticipation of a relatively buoyant market ahead.
FT: Ripples from the property boom The property boom that began in the most genteel streets of central London has taken a decade to reach the far extremities of the British Isles...But the question remains: what will happen to UK average prices when the boom runs out of steam in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales?
FT: Housing boom hits far-flung corners According to the latest FT house price index, the most reliable measure of the market, prices are set to finish the year 2 per cent to 3 per cent higher compared with consumer price inflation of 2.1 per cent. In most of England, estate agents have been urging over-optimistic sellers to cut asking prices to get a deal.
Firstrung.com: Fairytale of New York "Happy Christmas your arse I pray God it`s our last" There is cause for celebration as we near the end of 2005, house price inflation is finally laid to rest as the ghost of Christmas past.
BBC: Shell oil hit by Nigerian attack The attack by unknown gunmen killed at least eight people, and is expected to delay deliveries of more than 180,000 barrels per day for up to a week...Pipelines have been attacked in the region a number of times before.
Motley Fool: Will Your House Be Worth More In 2006? HBOS' predictions are nothing more than whistling in the dark. After all, it's hardly going to frighten us by forecasting a fall, is it? Indeed, in eighteen years of working in financial services (including several years at HBOS itself), I don't recall a single occasion when HBOS wasn't bullish (optimistic) about future house prices!
This Is Money: Never had it so cheap at the sales Record use of the internet for Christmas present buying has also depressed high street sales. It means central London stores have been forced to launch their sales at least a week, and in some cases a fortnight, earlier than usual. Although shoppers have returned to the West End in huge numbers in recent weeks, the surge has come too late for most retailers.
This Is Money: All quiet on the house price front Most experts believe prices are set for steady, if unspectacular, growth next year. Having ended this year at around 3%, the recent flurry of forecasts have predicted house price inflation will be at worst flat and at best 4% in 2006. When adjusted for inflation, that suggests homeowners will see minimal gains, if any.
First Rung: House price rise is bad news for many Tucked neatly into the letters section, after the seemingly more important issue of the plight of dairy farmers, the Independent saw fit to publish readers comments after it ran the headline, "Now for some good news", in relation to house prices predictions suggesting a rise in values in 2006.
National Statistics: Balance of Payments The current account deficit widened to £10.2 billion in the third quarter, from a revised deficit of £1.4 billion in the second quarter. This is equivalent to -3.4 per cent of GDP, the largest deficit as a percentage of GDP since the fourth quarter of 2000.
BBC News: Bank minutes build rate cut hopes Hopes of cheaper borrowing in the New Year have been boosted by news that a member of the Bank of England voted to cut rates this month. Minutes of the December Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting showed that Stephen Nickell broke ranks and pressed for a quarter-point cut.
Residential Landlord: Property professionals want more club rules Investors must be protected from buy to let investment clubs that set out to get around the rules regulating collective investment schemes, a consortium of leading property interest groups have told the Financial Services Authority. If the expectations of investors in such schemes are not met, damage could be done to the reputation of property funds in general, they warn.
Bank Of England: Minutes of MPC ...More generally, real long rates in most advanced economies were at or around historically low levels. As discussed in previous Committee meetings, those low levels could reflect some combination of higher planned saving, lower desired investment or excess liquidity associated with loose global monetary policy...The general buoyancy of asset prices could perhaps be related to high levels of global liquidity.
Halifax: HBOS Economic forecast for 2006 The housing market is expected to be flat in 2006 with modest nominal house price growth and no change in real terms. UK house prices are forecast to rise by 3%, broadly in line with the predicted rise in retail price inflation. House prices have risen by less than the long-term average (8% per annum) in 2005 for the first time since 2000. Growth is expected to remain below the long-term average for the second successive year in 2006.
Reuters: MVC files for bankruptcy DVD and CD retailer MVC, previously spun out of Woolworths PLC, has filed for bankruptcy and hired Kroll as administrators, Kroll said on Wednesday. MVC will continue trading over Christmas, Kroll said.
This Is Money: Debt firms fear deluge DEBT charities are bracing themselves for a record number of calls from consumers worried about their Christmas spend in January. Most charities say they expect a deluge of calls when their lines open on Tuesday 3 January and calls generally get heavier throughout the month as bills land on people's doormats.
The Economist: Miraculous recovery or last gasp? After soaring for years, housing markets throughout the rich world have been looking wobbly for some time. But surprisingly strong data on mortgages and house-building released this week in America and Britain seem to signal at least a temporary reprieve. How long can this go on? And what will happen to the economy when it finally stops?
Housebuilder.co.uk: Mortgages on a high again Mortgage lending has recovered to its highest level since the end of the housing boom. Members of the British Bankers’ Association lent £5.1 billion more in mortgages than was repaid last month, the most since July 2004.
Telegraph: House prices drop for first time in 10 years Average house prices have suffered their first annual fall in 10 years, according to the latest survey by Hometrack, the housing analyst. It said that house prices across England and Wales fell by 1.29 per cent in 2005. It added that the average price had fallen by 4.17 per cent since the market turned in June last year.
My Finances: Savings up 25% "Building society savings increased by 25 per cent between November 2003 and November 2005," said Adrian Coles, director general of the Building Societies Association. "This is perhaps evidence of the growing acceptance by people that they need to save, so they have something to fall back on in case hard times hit.
This Is Money: Rein in spending IMF tells Brown GORDON Brown was urged to rein in Britain's ballooning budget deficit by the International Monetary Fund last night. The warning comes amid signs that Government spending is rising too fast.
First Rung: 2006: Three Rate Cuts To Come? Wipe those tears of joy from your eyes (the ones you're mortgaged up to) - Boulger, Senior Technical Manager at John Charcol, a leading independent mortgage advisor, reckons as much as 0.75 per cent will be sliced off interest rates next year.
First Rung: House prices have fallen by 4.17% since June 2004 The figure quoted by Hometrack of a fall in prices of 4.17% since the peak of 2004 is stunning news. However, Hometrack in customary fashion manage to distil this news by claiming a rise in values of 1% for 2006. The evidence that the housing market has turned in 2005 is now surely irrevocable.
This is Money: Turnaround for house prices? House prices are rising for the first time in 15 months, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said today. The group said the market slowdown appeared to have come to an end, with enquiries from potential buyers rising consistently during the past six months.
FMNN: The Daily Reckoning To Trust, Or Not To Trust, The Banks Are In Question. The tipping point for real estate prices...counting on bubble gains to keep on keepin' on...Life after the real estate bubble...ah, the lost art of irony...Even a monkey could hack into this system...a burden heavier than empire and more crushing than debt...and more!
BBC News: Mortgage lending picks up again Mortgage lending has continued to show an unseasonal pickup as the year draws to a close. The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said gross lending rose by 5% in November to £28.5bn.
BBC News: Region bucks house prices trend House prices in the Yorkshire and Humber region have continued to slide in contrast to the rest of the UK, new figures show. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' monthly survey for December recorded the first national price increases in 15 months.
Telegraph: House prices drop for first time in 10 years Average house prices have suffered their first annual fall in 10 years, according to the latest survey by Hometrack, the housing analyst. It said that house prices across England and Wales fell by 1.29 per cent in 2005. It added that the average price had fallen by 4.17 per cent since the market turned in June last year.
Bloomberg: NYC Transit System Shuts Down After Talks Break Off New York's transit union shut down the city's public transportation system today for the first time in 25 years, stranding 7 million daily bus and subway riders, after failing to reach a new contract agreement with the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
This Is Money: Insolvencies 'set to peak in 2006' INSOLVENCY practitioners are braced for another hectic year in 2006 as tough trading conditions lead to the collapse of thousands more firms. Accountants BDO Stoy Hayward predict more than 18,000 companies will go bust next year, up from an estimated 17,300 over the past 12 months.
Moneyweek.com: Why UK house price falls are inevitable Because of our bearish long-term view for UK property, which we believe to be significantly over-priced at current levels, we have spent the past year wondering about the impact that the new pension rules would have on the property market because of the expected wall of money.
ThisisMoney: 2m still paying for last Xmas MORE than 2m people who used credit cards to buy last year's Christmas presents have still not managed to pay off the debt. The statistic gives a bleak insight into Britain's debt crisis as more and more families adopt the 'spending, not saving' culture. A further 1.7m shoppers only managed to pay off last year's Christmas credit card debts last month.
BBC News: Chinese growth to top 9% in 2005 China's economy will expand by more than 9% in 2005, Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said, continuing growth that has made it one of the world's largest. The minister's comments, reported by the Reuters news agency, come as the government prepares to release revised growth figures for 2004 on Tuesday.
Independent: London and the North take lead in property price rises It has not been grim up North for house prices this year, as Bradford, Leeds and Hull emerge among the UK's property hotspots of 2005. The last monthly house price survey from the property research company Hometrack also puts West Yorkshire and Derbyshire among only three counties to have shown increases in average prices over the year, while the national picture from its poll of 7,500 estate agents shows a 1.3
ViewLondon.co.uk: Minimum wage 'not increasing unemployment' The steady increases in the UK's national minimum wage (NMW) have reportedly affected many lower paying organisations, but have not had a negative effect on UK employment. A survey by analyst IDS claims that an increasing number of companies now have their lowest pay rate set at the level of the minimum wage.
This Is Money: Banks' American nightmare MASSIVE lending to American companies and households could return to haunt British institutions, says the Bank of England. With America accounting for 17% of the total loans made by UK banks, British lenders are vulnerable to a major economic shock in the US.
Sunday Times: Merryn on Money: Why diamonds weren’t this girl’s best friend According to Hometrack (which to my mind produces some of the more honest house-price statistics) prices have fallen 2.5% so far this year. Add inflation into that and prices are down 5% in real terms. This may not count as a crash in everyone’s book, but it is still pretty nasty — and I think it is going to get much nastier.
Sunday Times: The Market continuing oversupply of two-bedroom flats in UK city centres has led to an average 0.5% price fall in their prices in the year to October, masking larger drops in Bristol (down 7.2%) and Newcastle and Glasgow (down 1.3% and 1.1%). The flats’ rental yield — that is, the share of the purchase price recovered in a year’s rental income — is an average of 4.9% across the UK before deductions for agents’ fees and income tax.
MyFinances: Interest rates could tumble in 2006 Next year could see interest rates tumble, analysts have predicted. Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at mortgage broker John Charcol, believes that 2006 could see interest rates fall to under four per cent.
MSN Money: Housing markets to provide rate clues The outlook for housing markets in the US and UK and their impact on the wider economy provide an important theme for this week's data releases. The link between property prices and wider economic activity is increasingly recognised by policymakers as a crucial factor for decisions on interest rates.
The Economist: Forecast Until recently, the Economist Intelligence Unit had expected Mr Blair to remain prime minister until 2008, but his departure from office in 2006 cannot now be ruled out...However, the threat of falling house prices poses a significant downside risk to the outlook for GDP growth.
Telegraph | Flat on its face: "Now that buy-to-let has slowed, interest rates are higher and transactions are at their lowest figure since 1974, developers are left with huge projects on their hands. Following Gordon Brown's cancellation of Sipps benefits on residential property last week, the expected flow of eager investors has effectively been plugged. "
The Times: What did you waste? We all make financial mistakes, from letting apathy rule our bank balance to trusting dodgy salesmen. The good news is that the less frugal among you are not alone. Here Times Money presents the ten worst mistakes that people made with their cash over the past year.
This is Money: Record 20,000 set to go bankrupt A recoord number of people will go bust in the New Year because of excessive Christmas spending, experts warn today. Accountants Grant Thornton predicts the first quarter of 2006 will see nearly 20,000 personal insolvencies - the highest number since records began in 1960.
The Guardian: Young 'divided over homeownership' Eight out of 10 Britons would prefer to own a property than live in rented accommodation but there is evidence that young people are falling out of love with homeownership, according to research published today.
Channel 4: Cost of running home 'up by £2,000' Britons claim the average cost of running a home has risen by nearly £2,000 this year, new research has shown. People said they spent around £142 a month more on outgoings such as utility bills, their mortgage, food and insurance during the year compared with 2004, according to accident and health insurer Combined Insurance.
BBC: Unwins off-licences near collapse UK off-licence chain Unwins is on the verge of administration, just nine months after being bought by a private equity firm...The group has almost 400 stores and 2,500 staff.
Reuters: Trinity Mirror says ad market worsens Trinity Mirror said on Thursday the advertising market has continued to decline, with sharp fall-offs at national papers such as the Daily Mirror as well as in regional recruitment ads.
Reuters: UK details weakened company risk reporting rules Companies will have to produce a "Business Review" from 2006 describing upcoming uncertainties including non-financial matters such as social and environmental risks, Alun Michael, Minister for Industry and the Regions, said in a statement. But the review will not be audited, diluting its legal significance.
Reuters: ECB's Issing warns of inflation hazards - FT ..."With consumer price inflation well anchored, overly accommodative monetary policies may lead to asset price inflation," he wrote. "Over longer horizons, this may prove hazardous to price and macroeconomic stability."...Monetary officials are concerned that huge amounts of cheap cash are driving up asset prices, notably bonds, real estate and commodities, and could plant the seeds for a crash.
This is Money: House sales lowest for 30 years The UK's biggest chain of estate agents warned today that the number of completed house sales in 2005 is set to be the lowest in 30 years. Countrywide, which includes the offices Bairstow Eves and Mann & Co, said it had been a 'very challenging year' but predicted results would be in line with City expectations.
Telegraph: 'Tis the fright before Christmas... For retailers he is the patron saint of supply and demand. And this year Father Christmas has let them down - again. Indeed, most companies reliant on consumer spending are reporting very little festive cheer.
SKY News: Consumers Start Saving At Last Consumers are saving more each month as they finally show signs of tightening their belts. People saved an average of 7.2% of their income during the three months to the end of November.
SKY News: 24-Hour News Channel Shuts Down ITV's rolling news channel is to close, it has been confirmed. The channel is expected to shut down in January and some 25 jobs are likely to go - some reports say the toll could be as high as 70.
This is Money: The desperate battle for No.1 The battle for the Christmas number one is building up to a frenzy in the run up to December 25, but the fight between finance companies to get their products on best-buy tables is equally intense, and much more lucrative.
NEWS.com.au: Consumer gloom grows Consumer sentiment has dropped as people worry about higher interest rates and falling house prices, Westpac said today. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment fell 2.7 per cent in December to 104.7.
Investment & Business News: House prices: the picture gets clearer Recently we reported a theory from Capital Economics that the problem lies with more expensive houses proving more popular than cheaper properties. This is distorting the average house price, meaning that the Halifax and Nationwide, by only taking into account houses which are sold, are effectively exaggerating prices.
Investment & Business News: Crash in House prices? What to look out for We live in a kind of economic nirvana. An environment, that economists once said was impossible: low inflation and low unemployment. In the UK we have experienced years of uninterrupted growth, the rate of interest is low, yet prices remain in check. It's no wonder many of the experts say that talk of a crash in house prices is ridiculous. But, they are wrong, a crash remains a very real danger, and these are some of the signs to watch out for.
Investment & Business News: House Prices: new realism sees share pick up ...much was made of the fact the UK rate of interest is likely to be lower than the US rate soon, and that the ECB rate too, is likely to move upwards. It was suggested this could lead to a severe crash in the pound. A possibility we have warned of many times. If this was to occur, then it seems likely the Bank of England would be forced into upping rates again – and house prices would be the casualty...How anyone can be so confident of a soft landing lasting many years is beyond us.
Investment & Business News: Buy-To-Let blow ...Although First Time Buyers have been moving back of late, their total numbers are still well below the levels seen a few years ago. So, with FTP's effectively out of the equation, the market needs Buy to Let investors, otherwise, where will the beginning of each property chain come from?
My Finances: Winter freeze in interest rates ...As the Bank of England sets interest rates in an attempt to keep CPI as close to two per cent as possible, this reading has led economists to predict that the Bank's interest rate setting Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will leave interest rates on hold at 4.5 per cent until March, and possibly for the rest of 2006.
The Economist: Can America keep it up? Long-term interest rates are currently kept low by foreign central banks buying dollars—and dollar-denominated assets—to keep their currencies cheap. But those mountains of dollars are creating ever bigger problems for the banks, which may have to cut back soon. That would bring on a sharp increase in American interest rates, which in turn would deflate the housing bubble—if it doesn’t shrivel on its own first.
The Independent: Why more and more houses are taking over one year to sell ...So there are only two conclusions that one can draw about a home that's been on sale for a year or longer," says Rupert Bradstock, the country director of the buying agency Property Vision. "Firstly it's on the market at the wrong price. Or secondly, if it's described by an agent as being on at the right price, there's something wrong with it. In my experience, it's almost always the former.
This is Money: Yes Car Credit collapses Doorstep lender Provident Financial is closing its controversial Yes Car Credit loan company, with the loss of more than 800 jobs. Yes Car was put up for sale in September but none of the interested parties has been prepared to make a firm offer for the business, which was the subject of a damaging BBC Watchdog investigation earlier this year.
SKY News: Claimant Count On The Rise The number of people claiming unemployment benefit increased by 10,500 last month to 902,000. The total number of unemployed rose by 72,000 between August and October to 1.5m, said the Office for National Statistics.
ThisisMoney: Overdraft charges leap by a third BANK charges for customers who slip into the red have soared by almost a third in two years.Research reveals that increases in fees for bounced items, when the overdraft limit is exceeded, are soaring ahead of the cost of living.
The Move Channel: Buy-to-let lending soared prior to Sipp snub Buy-to-let mortgages increased by a massive 16% in November, according to lender Mortgages Direct, the financial subsidiary of Spicerhaart. The rise followed a steady increase over the past six months as many investors were gearing themselves up for the tax-free residential property investment opportunities in Sipps. This has now been snubbed out by the government, as the chancellor scraped the tax break last week.
BBC News: Fed 'set to raise rates to 4.25%' The US Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates on Tuesday, sparking a debate over whether it has reached the end of its cycle of hikes. While most analysts forecast a quarter of a percentage point raise to 4.25% - the 13th hike in a row - they are split over whether more will come.
This is Money: Inflation continues to ease back Inflation eased back for the second month in a row in November as the price of petrol continued to fall from record highs. Inflation, as measured by the rise in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), fell to 2.1%, close to the Bank of England's preferred level of 2%.
Channel 4: Dip in house prices House prices fell slightly during October, after annual growth rates had shown signs of picking up in September, Government figures show. The cost of the average property dropped by 0.3% during the month
Channel 4: Lloyds cautions over bad debt Banking group Lloyds TSB said it had seen a higher percentage of bad debt in the UK as more of its customers fell into repayment difficulties. The group said its overall performance was in line with market expectations, but added that its retail banking arm faced pressure from lower levels of growth in consumer lending and further deterioration in credit quality.
FT: UK manufacturers squeezed by higher costs Daragh Maher at Calyon bank said: “The fact that these higher costs are not making their way further along the production chain will provide the Bank of England with some comfort. The problem is that not all on the monetary policy committee will be convinced that this state of affairs can continue, and there will be a nervousness about the upside risks to inflation from these pipeline pressures.”
The Times: Average house to top £200,000 The cost of an average home will rise to more than £200,000 for the first time early next year, according to a property website. Rightmove predicts a 4 per cent increase in 2006, but even a 2 per cent rise will push the price of an average home to more than eight times the average salary.
BBC News: House price inflation falls again House prices across the UK continued to slow in the year to October, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has said. The annual rate of house price growth was 2.2% in October, down from 3.3% in September, in line with other commercial surveys, it found.
BBC News: British Gas engineers on strike Engineers at British Gas are starting the first of five strikes in protest at the closure of the company's final salary pension scheme to new entrants. The engineers who repair household boilers are holding a 24-hour strike, with further ones planned for 19 and 21 December, and 6 and 9 January.
This Is Money: M&S could cost Britain up to £4bn GORDON Brown faces yet another multi-billion pound blow to his hopes of balancing the books this week when the European Court of Justice is expected to rule against him in a watershed tax case.
thebusinessonline.com: US rates to reach 4.25% Wall Street is braced for a further quarter-point rise in interest rates on Tuesday to 4.25% as the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee continues its drive to stamp out inflation.
Scotland on Sunday: Glad to see Sipps made homeless for investors' sake It is a welcome relief in many quarters that self-invested personal pension funds (Sipps) will not after all be able to invest directly in residential property. The risks associated with such a strategy would have significantly outweighed the benefits. Inevitably, it would all have ended in tears.
FT.com - House price inflation matches 1996 low: "House prices have not risen since February, bringing the annual rate of inflation to its lowest level since June 1996, according to the Financial Times house price index, the most reliable guide to prices paid in the property market"
Channel 4: More shoppers turning to Internet "This Christmas is set to be a tough one for high street retailers - Tesco on the one hand and Internet retailers on the other will take the majority of the growth and the high street is going to be squeezed in between."
Channel 4: Britons 'both borrowers and savers' "Almost a third of consumers having mortgage repayments that are over a third of their salary is a concerning statistic. This indicates that people are stretching themselves to afford the home they want. With mortgage rates at the low levels they are at the moment, it is easy for consumers to borrow large amounts. However, it is the responsibility of consumers and lenders to ensure that they are aware of the consequences if mortgage rates increase."
Channel 4: Stores regret interest rates hold Retailers praying for lower borrowing costs to kickstart a pre-Christmas spending spree were left disappointed when interest rates were left at 4.5%...Members of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) are concerned that firms will start to raise prices to protect profits and their staff will bargain bumper wage rises from next month.
This Is Money: Pay rising at double inflation Wage rises are a major concern because economists believe they have a direct impact on the price of goods and services. In November, when inflation was about 2.3%, take-home salaries in the private sector grew at 5.5%, according to Voca, which processes payments into employees' bank accounts.
FT: House prices rising at slowest rate in nine years With stable prices, the ratio of house prices to average earnings has finally begun to fall, but house prices will have to remain stable for years if the ratio is to come down to level that were considered normal as recently as a couple of years ago. On this and many other measures, the housing market is still highly valued.
The Economist: Our latest update of The Economist's global house-price indicators THE air is slowly leaking from the global housing bubble. In most of the countries that The Economist tracks each quarter the pace at which house prices are climbing has slowed over the past year. An overwhelming majority of experts are still predicting a soft landing with no drop in prices. But property in many countries is so overvalued that even if prices do not fall, they could stagnate for up to a decade.
BBC News: UK trade gap shrinks in October Britain's trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed in October, boosted by oil exports, figures show. he trade gap in goods and services fell to £2.9bn ($5bn) from a deficit of £3.9bn in September, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported.
BBC News: UK house prices 'to rise in 2006' House prices in the UK are set to rise in 2006, although any gains will be small, according to Nationwide. Britain's biggest building society said at best prices would grow by 3% over next year, following gains of 2.4% this year and 12.7% in 2004.
BBC News: UK interest rates stay unchanged UK interest rates have been kept on hold at 4.5% at the end of the Bank of England's December meeting. This was the fourth month in succession that the bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) chose to keep the cost of borrowing unchanged.
Assetz: Downturn in new homes market The current trend of building flats and apartments rather than houses has caused a slight downturn in the new homes market in the UK. According to monthly data from SmartNewHomes.com, average prices across the UK are in fact down 4.8 per cent from last year, although month-on-month prices do indicate an increase of around 0.2 per cent.
FT.com: Portman refuses to lend on buy-to-let new flats The Portman Building Society on Wednesday became the first lender in the UK to refuse buy-to-let mortgages on new flats in a sign of growing fears about the stability of the sector. The Portman, third largest buy-to-let lender in the UK, said it would avoid lending on new properties until “the market forces of supply and demand” had returned to equilibrium.
BBC News: UK rates set to remain unchanged UK interest rates are expected to be kept on hold at 4.5% when the Bank of England announces its latest monthly decision at midday. Such a move by the bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) would mean the core rate remaining unchanged for the fourth month in succession.
Reuters: Barclays UK boss leaves The country's third-largest bank is attempting to revive the performance of its domestic business, which accounts for 45 percent of group profits, but is struggling to grow in retail banking due to a consumer spending slowdown and rising bad debts.
ThisisMoney: 3 million owe more than £10,000 AN estimated 3m people owe more than £10,000 on credit cards, overdrafts and loans, research claimed today. Among these people just over 2.5m have unsecured debts of more than £50,000, according to new debt solutions company One Advice.
ThisisMoney: House prices to rise 1% in 2006 AVERAGE house prices will rise by just 1% next year, and by an average of just over 2% a year over the next three years, Britain's biggest independent residential property research company said today.
icWales: From the frying pan into the fire More customers are transferring their credit card debt to home loans, despite there being a large increase in mortgage repossession orders, according to new figures from Grant Thornton.
UTV: House prices rise fastest in Northern Ireland The cost of a first time home in Northern Ireland has soared almost twice as fast as anywhere else in the UK in the past year, it was revealed today. Prices have shot up by 21%, making it ever harder for first time buyers to get on the first rung of the property ladder.
Firstrung.com: Everybody hurts sometime... Pity the hapless post 2002 BTL player, how much worse does it get before they throw in the towel and finally concede defeat and off load their disastrous investment "portfolios"?
Channel 4: Further house price rises predicted The Council of Mortgage Lenders said it had revised upwards its forecasts for house price inflation and mortgage lending for the coming two years in the light of a recovery in housing market activity.
This Is Money: Christmas sales get even earlier A BARGAIN Christmas is on the cards as shops cut prices to a four-year low. Stores are competing for shoppers' attention with three-for-two deals, one-day sales which knock up to 50% off prices, and special sale events.
This Is Money: HBOS predicts rate cuts ahead BRITAIN'S biggest mortgage lender, HBOS, today predicted further cuts in interest rates over the next 12 to 18 months to help stimulate spending as the economy begins to recover.
This Is Money: 2m new homes in building blitz LARGE swathes of the country could disappear under concrete after Mr Brown gave the green light to build 2m homes over the next ten years. The Government wants the number of homes built each year to increase by a third, from an average of 150,000 to 200,000.
Money Week: Where to next for UK and US property? News from the UK property market continues to be mixed, sending inconsistent messages. However, what is clear is that the credit cycle continues to tighten. A credit crunch is a kiss of death for most asset markets. Credit not only becomes more difficult to secure, but it also becomes more expensive.
Reuters: BoE seen holding rates But the chances of any move coming in the early months of 2006 have dwindled following comments from policymakers that they are worried workers will demand higher pay in the new year wage round to make up for higher inflation.
Reuters: Manufacturing output falls for third month Manufacturing output unexpectedly fell at its sharpest pace in seven months in October, putting pressure on Chancellor Gordon Brown's new economic growth forecasts...while pay growth was its strongest in seven months.
Reuters: Govt urges insurers to start low-cost pensions A report issued by the ABI on Monday said 8.3 million working Britons currently saved no money at all for retirement while another 3.8 million people were not saving enough. Some 54 percent of non-savers say they have no spare money to put aside while 68 percent of people saving insufficient amounts do so because they cannot afford to save more, according to the survey.
FT.Com: Sterling falls as manufacturing disappoints Sterling fell on Tuesday morning after UK manufacturing output unexpectedly fell at its sharpest pace in seven months in October. The Office for National Statistics said that manufacturing output fell 0.7 per cent in October, the third monthly decline in a row, disappointing analysts’ expectations of a rise of 0.2 percent.
TimesOnline: Brown fiddles while the economy burns THE ECONOMY is not going so well. What we wanted to hear from Gordon Brown yesterday was how bad things are and what is being done to tailor the public finances to this setback. What is his plan to help the economy grow at least as fast as the claimed trend rate of 2.5 or 2.75 per cent?
Telegraph: Sipps shock as tax break is shelved Savers who have put more than £5 billion into a new type of pension, which the Chancellor promised would be able to buy residential property, will be hit by a "shocking" climbdown announced yesterday.
BBC News: Lenders join shared equity scheme Three new lenders have joined the government's HomeBuy scheme, offering 20,000 shared equity mortgages. From October 2006 Nationwide, HBOS and Yorkshire Building Society will all offer the HomeBuy mortgages to first-time buyers.
SKY News: Economy In Good Shape The economy is still in good shape, Chancellor Gordon Brown is insisting. It was "well placed" for the future, he said, as he rejected claims that he is running out of steam.
Sunday Times: The market Almost one property purchase in 12 falls through after the seller has accepted an offer, says Hometrack, a consultancy that collates data from estate agents. It says homes now take an average of eight weeks to sell, with buyers typically paying 93.4% of the asking price.
This Is Money: Brown bursts Sipps bubble The news brought a swift and furious response from pensions industry professionals. Jerome Melcer, actuarial director at BDO Stoy Hayward Investment Management, said: 'Gordon Brown has made an enormous U-turn on Sipps that has wasted thousands of hours of professional time. An entire industry has been set up to deal with property-based Sipps and now it's all been canned.'
This Is Money: Salaries soar for state sector fat cats Figures from the Office for National Statistics this week are expected to show that public sector employees as a whole can expect nearly £1 a hour more than private sector employees. Their average pay is understood to have risen 4.2% last year compared to 2.2% in commercial firms.
Scotsman: Buy-to-let investors hit by duty loophole BUY-TO-LET investors, are being hit with big bills after the Revenue and Customs began exploiting a completely unrelated measure included in last year's Finance Act to clamp down on stamp duty avoidance.
Economics UK: Shadow MPC's divisions grow On this occasion, five SMPC members voted to hold rates in December, while one voted for a ¼% rate reduction, one voted for a ½% cut, and two members voted for a ¼% increase.
Motley Fool: The State Of The Nation's Savings! ...surprise, surprise, 45% of people are failing to save for an adequate retirement income. While this is hardly a revelation, the eye-opener is that just two years ago the percentage of people failing to save adequately was 36%. Why the big increase in such a short period of time?
Channel 4: Bank rates 'set to stay unchanged' Economists think the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will maintain the current rate of 4.5% when it meets on Thursday. Recent comments from members of the committee have suggested that they are not tempted to change the cost of borrowing before New Year after a cut in August.
Reuters: Service sector growth slows-survey ...Moreover, the fact some firms are raising prices even as cost pressures ease could concern members of the Monetary Policy Committee especially as headline inflation has been above the BoE's 2.0 percent target for four straight months.
Reuters: Brown pencils in higher borrowing Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said on Monday that British public borrowing in the current fiscal year would be slightly higher than he forecast in his March budget.
FT: Brown closes door on property in pensions The government on Monday closed the door to investors hoping to get tax relief to put their holiday homes and buy-to-let properties in their pensions schemes from April next year by saying it would no longer be allowed.
Money Week: Beware the sucker’s rally in UK property ...But you are not alone if you’ve been wondering about the REAL state of the housing market lately. And if, like most of us, the largest proportion of your wealth is held in the form of residential property, you're right to be concerned.
EDP24: 1000 Norwich Union jobs for India Norwich Union is to open a fifth offshore operating centre as part of a drive to move thousands more jobs overseas, the EDP can reveal. The move, continuing the rapid growth of NU's offshore operations, will mean by 2007 the insurance group will for the first time employ more people in India than in its home city of Norwich.
Firstrung.com: Model Citizens Apologies to any first time buyer losing the will to live on hearing that the introduction of SIPPS will make getting on to the firstrung even more difficult. This subject has been done to death over the past few months as so many commentators apparently scramble for any information that may justify the continued unsustainable level of house prices in the UK.
Residential Landlord: ARLA wants more control of agents With a rise in letting agent failures that have left tenants and landlords out of pocket, the Association of Residential Letting Agents is pushing for all to be licensed. In the last six months alone four firms have closed down, gone into administration, or had their principal jailed for fraud, said the association. It believes most failures are caused by a combination of inexperience and lack of training. With a ‘myriad of new rules and regulations’ the problem could increase.
BBC: Cold snap forces oil price higher Oil prices are on the up again as an upcoming US cold snap heightens demand. The rise, to more than $59 a barrel in the US, comes despite a promise by oil cartel Opec to keep pumping petroleum at maximum capacity.
Channel 4: Spending on household goods falls Spending on household goods has dropped during the past year as falling consumer confidence has caused people to tighten their belts, research has showed. The value of the average home's contents has increased by just 1.6% since 2004, to around £45,341, according to insurer More Than.
Channel 4: Property ladder fears over pensions More than a third of first-time buyers are worried they will be priced out of the property market as a result of new pensions legislation which comes in next year, research has showed.
FT: Brown gives go-ahead to property trusts Hundreds of thousands of small investors will be able to plough money into the property sector when Gordon Brown gives the go-ahead for to a new breed of investment trust.
BBC News: Brown 'plans £3bn land sale tax' The government is planning a tax on landowners who sell sites for property development, newspaper reports say. It could raise up to £3bn a year, which would help pay for the government's plans to build tens of thousands of new homes, said the Times.
ThisisMoney: Lenders to share customer data FOUR of the UK's largest credit card lenders have announced plans to start sharing information on customers to help spot those getting into financial difficulty. Barclaycard, The Co-Operative Bank, Egg and Abbey will share 'behavioural' data on how much their customers are spending each month and how much is being repaid.
Guardian: Retailers expect Christmas to be worst in 22 years Retailers are expecting their worst Christmas since at least 1983 after seeing the sharpest fall in sales volume on record last month. According to the CBI's distributive trades survey, more than half of retailers said their November sales were lower than a year ago and only 17% reported doing more business. The balance, of -35%, is substantially worse than the previous low of -24% recorded in September.
TimesOnline: Brown to seek £1bn windfall from banks BRITAIN’S biggest banks fear that the Chancellor is preparing to levy a £1 billion “windfall” tax in his Pre-Budget Report next week, The Times has learnt. The banks are locked in last-ditch negotiations with the Treasury and Revenue & Customs, in an attempt to dissuade Gordon Brown from introducing the tax on Monday.
Savings sector in peril | This is Money THE National Pensions Savings Scheme proposed by Lord Turner could have a devastating impact on the savings industry, putting 50,000 jobs at risk and costing UK companies £4bn a year, experts warned last night.
IFAonline - Buy-to-let prices and rents down Average house prices and rental income both declined for landlords in the buy-to-let sector in the July-October period, according to figures published by provider Paragon Mortgages.
Residential Landlord: Housing Act complexity leaves landlords cold Even before major sections of the Housing Act 2004 have been brought into effect, three quarters of landlords have pinpointed ‘Government regulation’ as a major cause for concern. But the HHSRS, which only one in 10 landlords claim to understand, is part of a substantial new package of new rules coming into effect next year.
Channel 4: Treasury cash for homes crisis call "If only a modest proportion of the Government's increased revenue were to be recycled to boost the supply of affordable homes for rent and low-cost ownership and to improve the safety net for low-income home-owners, it could make a vital contribution to defusing the growing crisis in British housing."
IFAonline: Buy-to-let prices and rents down The average price paid for additional residential properties in October dropped to £156,879 from £162,409 in July, while annual rental income dropped to £10,152 from £10,835 over the same period.
Money Week: Good jobs are in decline in the US Marc Faber comments sarcastically that in America, according to latest economic census statistics, fastest growth is being registered not in high-tech industries, “but in high-value-added and intellectually highly demanding sectors such as lawn care, childcare providers, janitorial services and nail and hair salons!”
BBC News: ECB ignores fears to raise rates The European Central Bank (ECB) has ignored warnings about an economic slowdown and raised interest rates. It is the first time the ECB has changed rates since June 2003 and the first time they have risen since 2000.
Reuters: Nov factory growth slower than expected The country's manufacturing sector grew at a slower pace than expected in November despite strong output and robust export orders, a report showed on Thursday. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply/RBS PMI index fell to 51.0 -- below the 51.9 forecast by analysts -- from a downwardly revised 51.6 in October, although it remained above the 50.0 mark dividing expansion from contraction.
Reuters: Nov retail sales plunge at record pace -CBI Retail sales volumes in November fell at their fastest pace in at least 22 years in the run-up to the key Christmas shopping season, an industry survey showed on Thursday. The Confederation of British Industry's distributive trades survey said its sales balance fell to -35 in November, down from -18 in October and well below retailers' own forecast for -15, marking the lowest since the survey began in 1983.
ThisisMoney: Savings sector in peril THE National Pensions Savings Scheme proposed by Lord Turner could have a devastating impact on the savings industry, putting 50,000 jobs at risk and costing UK companies £4bn a year, experts warned last night.
Guardian: Consumer confidence still at 30-month low British retailers face a gloomy Christmas after it emerged yesterday that consumer confidence failed to recover last month from its two-and-a-half-year low in October. Insecurity about the future of the economy and worries about rising household costs left the GfK NOP consultancy's measure of consumer confidence unchanged at -8 in November, the lowest since the Iraq war began in March 2003.
TimesOnline: Heavy discounting hammers B&Q as profits slump 50% ANALYSTS cut their forecasts for Kingfisher yesterday, after the owner of B&Q blamed discounting and rising costs for a halving in profits at the do-it-yourself unit. The retailer said that price-cutting on ranges of paint, light bulbs and kitchens, as well as a “10 per cent off” weekend, cut third-quarter profits at B&Q by 53 per cent to £50.3 million. Like-for-like sales fell 8.4 per cent in the period.
BBC NEWS | Business | Declining sales continue at MFI Furniture retailer MFI is continuing to struggle against falling sales. Orders at its UK retail stores were down 15% over the past eight weeks compared with the same period last year, it said in a trading statement.