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Shotoflight

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  1. Can't afford to buy a home? Try shared ownership instead - UKhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27158467
  2. Landlords' £9bn housing benefit 'fuelling bubble' - UK Almost 40pc of the annual £25bn housing benefit bill goes to private landlords, latest figures show, sparking anger among would-be buyers http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/buy-to-let/10787462/Landlords-9bn-housing-benefit-fuelling-bubble.html “The £9bn taxpayers shower on private landlords every year looks set to balloon," said Generation Rent's director Alex Hilton. "Because landlords know the taxpayer can pay off their mortgage, this cash perversely fuels the housing bubble, which drives up rents, forcing more people to seek housing benefit." The group points out that while average house prices across the country have risen 9pc in the past 12 months, loans to landlords have grown by nearly 40pc. The number of recipients of housing benefit is expected to climb from 1.6m now to 1.9m by 2018-19. "It doesn't matter to landlords if they've paid too much for a property because the tenant, or their housing benefit, is the one who is going to be paying off the mortgage," said Mr Hilton.
  3. Lifestyle quiz to secure a mortgage - (wonder will this apply to remortgaging MEW?)http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27128734 Martin Wheatley, the chief executive of the FCA, told the BBC: "The core principle is a very sensible one - lend to people what they can afford to repay. "We've come out of a period, particularly in 2008-09, when there was no attempt to verify people's ability to pay, and we've ended up with lots of payment problems, lots of people in mortgages that are problematic for them, and if we had a different interest rate environment we'd see a lot of foreclosures." Lenders will also have to "stress test" an applicant's ability to repay if interest rates increased over a five-year period. This is expected to lead to some applications being rejected. Peter Hill, the chief executive of the Leeds Building Society, told the BBC that research carried out when the changes were being drawn up indicated that in a normal mortgage market the new rules would probably affect about 2.5% of borrowers. "In a more buoyant market, possibly a market that's starting to overheat, that could be as much as 11%, so I think the impact's going to be much smaller than some people fear," he added.
  4. NI pensioner incomes 'fall by 8% in real terms'http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-27153323 A study by the Department for Social Development (DSD) found that pensioners on average received £385 per week - down by 8% in real terms from 2012. However, Duane Farrell of charity Age NI said those average figures "mask a far more complex reality". The report also said that pensioner incomes in Northern Ireland, for both individuals and couples, were the lowest in the UK.
  5. Ben Chu: So real pay is rising for the first time in years? Here's how to figure out who's really better off www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/ben-chu-so-real-pay-is-rising-for-the-first-time-in-years-heres-how-to-figure-out-whos-really-better-off-9265917.html Four morose men are drinking in a pub when Bill Gates walks in. "Cheer up lads," exclaims one of the men. "The average wealth of the five of us has just gone through the roof." There are other complications, too, in this story. None of the various surveys the ONS uses to compile its headline pay figures covers the self-employed, who have soared to a record 15 per cent of the workforce in recent years. It is therefore hard to say what has happened to pay in this group, although there is some evidence that many people registered as self-employed are struggling. The rate of real wage growth also changes considerably depending on which inflation measure (consumer prices or retail prices) is used for the adjustment. And when one is talking about living standards it is preferable to look at total household incomes, which takes into account taxes and benefits received, rather than pay. The ONS says median incomes of non-retired households fell by 6.4 per cent between 2007/08 and 2011/12. This is all context of course – but as Bill Gates's drinking companions could tell you: context is important.
  6. Quarterly woes prompt fears recovery is bypassing construction http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/quarterly-woes-prompt-fears-recovery-is-bypassing-construction-30193473.html Construction output in Northern Ireland sank to a 14-year nadir in the last quarter of 2013, an industry body has said. And those firms which are getting work are having to find it outside Northern Ireland, the Construction Employers Federation said. The CEF spoke as the quarterly construction bulletin showed output was down nearly 8% between October and December 2013, compared to the same period a year earlier. It had even slumped by 3.7% on the third quarter of 2013 – and 2013 output of £2bn was down 42% on 2007. CEF managing director John Armstrong said that when the effect of inflation was discounted, the end of last year marked the lowest quarterly output for the building trade since 2000.
  7. NAMA may be used to control rising property prices http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0416/609211-nama/ A review of NAMA this year is required under the act that set up the agency, and Mr Noonan said he has posed specific questions as part of that process. He said NAMA owned about 2,500 acres of development land, primarily in Dublin, which could even be used to reign in rising property prices. "I've asked them if they have any suggestions on how we could work that, and would it be possible to use it as a brake on the market, but there probably isn't enough of it," he said. He referred to efforts in the 1990s to take the heat out of the property market, with Stamp Duty used as the principal mechanism which Mr Noonan said made the situation worse. "I think we should be looking at a different set of mechanisms this time", he said. He suggested the Finance Committee could hold a discussion with him on this issue at some time in the future, and he said he would publish as much information on the NAMA review as he could, subject to commercial sensitivities.
  8. Belfast tradesmen cheapest in UK http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/business/belfast-tradesmen-cheapest-in-uk-1-6004312
  9. Builders 'rely on British work' http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/builders-rely-on-british-work-30192586.html More than half the turnover of main local contractors at the end of last year was generated in Great Britain, according to the Construction Employers' Federation (CEF). Output in Northern Ireland decreased by 3% during the final quarter of last year. Approximately 60% of the turnover of the top 20 locally-based contractors was generated in Great Britain in the final three months of last year. For the top five contractors this proportion was closer to 90%, Mr Armstrong said. He added: "Locally, many contractors are still waiting to see the recovery materialise.
  10. NI jobless rate rises http://www.u.tv/News/NI-jobless-rate-rises/f25a08f7-c4b9-44e8-8079-9328b1f06e25 Northern Ireland's unemployment rate has risen to 7.7% in the last quarter. The rate was recorded for the period December - February 2014 and marked a rise of 0.4 percentage points from the previous quarter.
  11. Median price in Belfast (city counciil area) £87,500 Discuss. http://www.ninis2.nisra.gov.uk/InteractiveMaps/People%20and%20Places/Housing%20and%20Households/Median%20Sale%20Price/atlas.html
  12. Earnings above inflation? Don't spend it all at once Caution is needed over growth figures – averages are driven up by top earners and it will take years to recoup a 10% drop http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2014/apr/15/earnings-above-inflation-dont-spend-all-at-once Put out the bunting. Crack open the bubbly. Invite your friends round for a party. Celebrations are in order because for the first time since the deep recession of 2008/9 earnings are rising faster than prices. Britain is finally getting better off. Well, probably. A degree of hesitation is called for because official confirmation of the rise in living standards will only come with Wednesday's labour market data. This is expected to show that earnings growth in the three months to February was 1.7% or 1.8% higher than in the same three months of 2012-13. Inflation as measured by the consumer prices index is running at 1.6%, meaning the average Briton is getting richer by 0.1-0.2 percentage points a year. Don't spend it all at once, even assuming you are getting it, which you might not be because average earnings can be driven up by generous pay increases for those at the top. The CPI is not, of course, the only measure of the cost of living. Inflation as measured by the now unfashionable retail prices index (RPI), for example, is running at 2.5%, which would mean real wages were still falling. The RPI is no longer classified as an official statistic by the Office for National Statistics, but the CPI – which does not include high and rising housing costs – is not a perfect measure either.
  13. House prices up 2.8% in Northern Ireland - ONS http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/house-prices-up-28-in-northern-ireland-ons-30188576.html Prices in Northern Ireland are still 50.2% below their previous index highs..........
  14. Obel building in Belfast is sold: Ireland's tallest development http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/obel-building-in-belfast-is-sold-irelands-tallest-development-30184947.html The Obel comprises three separate blocks: Obel 62 is a 28-storey residential tower comprising 233 apartments; Obel 64 is an eight-storey residential block comprising 49 apartments; and Obel 68 is a seven-storey commercial block comprising 52,462sq ft primarily of grade A office accommodation. The development was launched on to the market in 2005 and dozens of apartments were sold off plan, mainly to buy-to-let investors. However as the property market crashed sales slowed and many of the apartments are still empty. Most of the office block is let to the international law firm Allen & Overy. No details were given about the sale price.
  15. Need a mortgage? New rules mean you'll have to ditch all those little extras The Mortgage Market Review, which comes into force on 26 April, means lenders will have to check every tiny detail of your finances down to the last purchase of an app http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/apr/12/need-mortgage-new-rules-lenders-check Go back a few years and the traditional "income multiple" – a key element in deciding how much someone could borrow – would be three to 3.5 times a single income, or 2.5 to 2.75 times joint incomes. But then they started creeping up, with lenders justifying this by saying that bigger loans were the only way to bridge the huge gap between house prices and earnings. Income multiples have not been abandoned as part of the latest shake-up – they are still in the mix, alongside the affordability checks and credit-scoring.
  16. Homebuyers face tougher scrutiny of household bills and childcare costs Regulator requires lenders to send detailed questionnaires to customers, making it harder for some to get a mortgage http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/apr/11/homebuyers-face-tougher-scrutiny-household-bills-childcare-costs Homebuyers are to face tough new affordability tests which will take account of every aspect of household spending, including childcare and takeaway meals, as part of an effort by City regulators to avoid the lending mistakes made in the run-up to the financial crisis. From 26 April anyone applying for a mortgage will have to supply three months of bank statements that will be scrutinised line by line to check that the borrower can repay the loan at today's interest rates and if borrowing costs rise. But there are fears that the affordability tests will be sidestepped as mortgage brokers advise potential buyers to strip all luxuries out of their spending for three months before applying for a loan. People whose salaries are high and can show they live frugally could borrow seven or even eight times their income, brokers claim. Borrowers with children could be particularly hard hit. Until now, some banks have ignored childcare costs in their loan calculations, but are expected to include them from the end of this month.
  17. Shopping costs soar since 1998 Agreement was signed http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/shopping-costs-soar-since-1998-agreement-was-signed-30174865.html The Dole queue is shorter, house prices have risen by 120% and manufacturing jobs have plunged by 25.6% since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, according to new research. As well as the 120% rise in house prices, from an average of £60,000 to £132,000, first time buyers are now paying an average of £99,000 for their property, as opposed to £48,000 back in 1998, a rise of 106%.
  18. Concentrix to create around 1,000 new jobs in Belfast http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-26967071 The posts will pay an average of £15,000 - that is below the private sector average. The project is the biggest ever backed by Invest NI in terms of a single jobs announcement. It is giving Concentrix £3.5m in grant aid.
  19. CBI chief warns high energy costs 'a real danger to jobs' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-26988853 Large energy users in Northern Ireland have some of the highest costs in Europe. Only Italian manufacturers face higher charges. Colin Walsh said the high costs were also making it "virtually impossible" to attract projects like data centres as inward investments.
  20. Northern Ireland shopping centres go on market http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-26964667 Some of Northern Ireland's best known shopping centres are reportedly for sale in a deal that could be worth up to £750m. Foyleside in Londonderry, Forestside in south Belfast and the Abbey Centre in Newtownabbey are all on the market, according to Property Week magazine. The shopping centres are part of a bigger portfolio held by two firms, Foyleside Ltd and Abbey Centre Ltd. The portfolio was assembled using substantial loans from Ulster Bank. The sales process fits with Ulster Bank's strategy of reducing the size of its property loan book.
  21. Repossessions are still taking too long, claims chief of Ulster Bank http://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/property-mortgages/repossessions-are-still-taking-too-long-claims-chief-of-ulster-bank-30167952.html Ulster Bank executive Stephen Bell told the committee that 4,300 mortgages that were in arrears were in a "legal process". An additional 3,000 legal cases were likely, he said. Around 50pc of those in a court process re-engaged with the bank, he added. Mr Brown said the bank's position was that the vast majority of people could remain in their home, including by deprioritising unsecured debt such as credit card and credit union loans to pay off their mortgage. Typically, customers were paying 60 cents off unsecured debt for every €1 paid off their mortgage, Mr Brown said, despite the loans being much smaller and less secure for the lender. The bank said that it did not write off any secured debt for customers. Mortgage write-offs have happened in cases where a home has been sold and residual debt, now classed as an unsecured loans, has been written off.
  22. There's no housing bubble – Michael Noonan wants prices to rise http://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/property-mortgages/theres-no-housing-bubble-michael-noonan-wants-prices-to-rise-30168455.html FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan wants house prices to rise further and claims fears of another property bubble in Dublin are exaggerated. Speaking at the 'Sunday Independent Business Evening ' last night, Mr Noonan also said the Government will use the state property agency NAMA to tackle the housing shortage. "We need to get property prices up another bit," he told the Dublin event. While dismissing talk of another boom, the minister conceded he was "worried" about Dublin's shortage of housing . Mr Noonan revealed NAMA would join forces with developers to build more than 22,000 homes over the next five years.
  23. AIB taking 'aggressive stance' against buy to let mortgages in arrears http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/aib-taking-aggressive-stance-against-buy-to-let-mortgages-in-arrears-30170891.html Fine Gael TD Kieran O'Donnell said an estimate by the bank that 80pc of 2,570 investment mortgages in deep arrears will be repossessed suggests an "aggressive" approach. AIB chief executive David Duffy said the bank regards buy to let investments as being like any other investment rather than family homes. Some 800 investment properties are under the control of receivers, the bank said. AIB repossessed 58 family home last year, up from 20 in 2012. The bank has kicked off legal proceedings against 2,500 borrowers in relation to a mortgage on their main home. Earlier Permanent TSB confirmed it expects to repossess "thousands" of homes as it works through mortgage arrears targets.
  24. Permanent TSB expects to repossess between 2,000 and 4,000 homes http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0409/607741-finance-committee/ Permanent TSB has told the Oireachtas Finance Committee that it expects to repossess a total of between 2,000 and 4,000 homes as a result of the mortgage crisis. Shane O'Sullivan, Managing Director at the bank's Asset Management & Non-Core Units division, said the repossessions would consist of mostly buy-to-let and some family homes. Last year the bank repossessed 60 homes but said it expects that figure will reach the hundreds this year. The bank told the committee that it has initiated legal proceedings against 1,500 customers in the past three months.
  25. Belfast prices fuel two-tier market http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/belfast-prices-fuel-twotier-market-30170825.html Belfast house price rises are outstripping the recovery in other parts of Northern Ireland. Significant demand and lack of supply in the city has fuelled the relative surge while the rest of the country has been relatively slow to emerge from the slump, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Spokesman Samuel Dickey said: "Whilst there is a lot of talk about a two-tier housing market within the UK, with London prices surging ahead of elsewhere, it could be said that a similar phenomenon is happening in Northern Ireland, if not to that extreme." He said that, while demand was significant in Belfast, in other parts of Northern Ireland the recovery was much more tentative. There are also major disparities between the repossessed sales market and other types of sales. Mr Dickey added: "Distressed sales, through asset managers and fixed-charge receivers, are all priced to sell. "On the other hand, vendors tend to be holding out for their own idea of value, which may not match what the market is prepared or able to pay. "More realistic expectations from vendors on prices will lead to sales."
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