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Friday 25th of July 2008

All Financial News

The latest financial news:

July 25, 2008

Recession fears as UK economic growth weakest for three years

by Kay Murchie
”Recession
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that the UK economy grew 0.2% in the second quarter of the year, which is the lowest quarter-on-quarter growth since the third quarter of 2005. It grew 1.6% compared with the same quarter a year ago - also the weakest growth for three years, and much lower than ...



July 24, 2008

British Airways drops 8 percent on session

by Elaine Frei
British Airways drops 8 percent on session
European equities markets were lower on Thursday after the Ifo Institute reported that German business confidence dropped in July, while reports from the United States showing that existing home sales declined in June and that first-time jobless claims climbed last week also hurt markets. In London the FTSE 100 was down 1.61 percent to 5,362.3 while the FTSE 250 dropped 1.99 ...



Quit smoking and save on life insurance

by Kay Murchie
”Quit
Moneyfacts.co.uk has revealed that the price of life insurance is half of what is was 10 years ago. A price war between insurers and other providers such as supermarkets offering cheaper insurance has meant that life insurance is much cheaper than it was a decade ago. Car insurance and home insurance may have risen over recent years but according to moneyfacts.co.uk, ...



Tracker mortgages provide strong competition for fixed-rates

by Gill Montia
Tracker mortgages provide strong competition for fixed-rates
Moneysupermarket.com is alerting homeowners to the fact that the average two-year tracker mortgage is offering increasingly good value. The price comparison website's weekly credit crunch monitor shows that at the beginning of June, there was little difference between the cost of the average two-year fix and the average two-year tracker. However, the latest update puts the difference at over 0.5%, in ...



Retail sales fall at fastest rate for two decades

by Kay Murchie
”Retail
Official figures have revealed that UK retail sales fell 3.9% in June - this represents the largest monthly fall since records began in 1986. An unexpected 3.6% increase was announced in May, therefore, a fall of just 2.5% was forecasted by analysts for June due to consumers cutting back as they struggle with rising fuel and food costs. The ...



First-time buyers return to property market

by Gill Montia
First-time buyers return to property market
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has reported that first-time buyers are making a tentative return to the housing market. In a survey of its members, the NAEA found that in June first-time buyer sales represented 11.8% of the housing market as compared with 9.8% a year earlier and up from 10.6% in May 2008. NAEA president, Chris Brown, believes that this ...



Falling house prices leave home improvers out of pocket

by Gill Montia
Falling house prices leave home improvers out of pocket
Homeowners who have chosen to improve, rather than move in the current market downturn, will be dismayed by new research from Abbey, which suggests that the cost of a home improvements is unlikely to be reflected in a sale price. Falling house prices mean that previously profitable projects can now cost homeowners serious amounts of capital. According to Abbey, an ...



July 23, 2008

Former Barclays chairman joins Northern Rock

by Kay Murchie
”Former
Former vice chairman of Barclays, Gary Hoffman, has been named as Northern Rock’s new chief executive. Newcastle-based Northern Rock will pay Mr Hoffman almost £2 million over two years to manage the crisis-torn bank. Mr Hoffman's basic salary is £700,000 plus three separate payments of £400,000 in compensation for the loss of his participation in Barclays' long-term incentive plans. Hoffman, who was ...



Which? exposes incompetent mortgage advice

by Gill Montia
Which? exposes incompetent mortgage advice
Which? has been investigating competency among mortgage advisers and has found that many are omitting to check information on clients' abilities to meet repayments. The consumer group sent its researchers to gather advice from banks, estate agents and independent mortgage advisers. Acting as first-time buyers, they visited 24 banks, 13 estate agents and 13 independent mortgage advisers in England and Scotland, between February and ...



New mortgage approvals decline 66% year-on-year

by Gill Montia
New mortgage approvals decline 66% year-on-year
The British Bankers' Association (BBA) has released figures for mortgage lending in June, showing that the number of new home loans approved by the UK's leading lenders fell 23% in a month. In May, BBA members approved 27,499 new home loans but the figure declined to 21,118 in June, representing a 66.9% fall on the same period of 2007. The annual fall ...



June house sales slump by 45%

by Gill Montia
”June
The number of house sales completed in June of his year fell by 45% when compared with the same period of 2007. According to HM Revenue & Customs, which requires notification of all transactions over £40,000 for stamp duty purposes, 140,000 homes were sold in June of last year, with the figure declining to 77,000 for June 2008. Latest information from the National Association of Estate Agents ...



Sub-prime lender offers cash-back on mortgage redemptions

by Gill Montia
Sub-prime lender offers cash-back on mortgage redemptions
One time subprime mortgage specialist, Edeus, has taken the unusual step of offering cash-back to selected customers who redeem their mortgages. The lender closed its doors to new business last year and has been struggling to sell its loans to investors in mortgage-backed securities. Much of the debt is in the sub-prime sector and the market for this is virtually dead. The firm ...



Mortgage fees rise 20% in a year

by Gill Montia
Mortgage fees rise 20% in a year
Research from price comparison website, mform.co.uk, shows that the arrangement fees applied to the most competitive mortgages on the market have increased by an average of 20% during the past 12 months. The average fee paid buy borrowers for a best-buy product has risen from £738.33 in August 2007 to £889.69. For three-year fixed-rate deals the rise is even steeper, with the ...



July 22, 2008

BoE Governor calls for savers’ guarantees

by Kay Murchie
BoE Governor calls for savers’ guarantees
The Bank of England’s Governor, Mervyn King, has said today that banks should put billions of pounds into a fund over the next 10 years to compensate customers in the event of another Northern Rock collapse. Mr King was speaking members of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee on the issue of banking reform, and said that he believed the ...



FSA crack down on mortgage fraud

by Gill Montia
FSA crack down on mortgage fraud
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has announced that it is cracking down on mortgage fraud, having already banned 17 brokers in the past 12 months. The regulator says it wants to receive more information from lenders who spot suspect loan applications and will be working to improve intelligence sharing across the industry. Lenders have been asked to report suspect mortgage brokers since 2006 ...



Average two-year fixed-rate drops below 7%

by Gill Montia
Average two-year fixed-rate drops below 7%
Moneyfacts.co.uk has announced that the average interest rate on a two-year fixed-rate mortgage has fallen to 6.96%. Market swap rates have soared in recent months, taking rates on this popular type of loan to a ten-year high of 7.08%. However rates on the two-year and other fixed deals are now falling. In the case of the three-year fix, by 0.12% and on the ...



Woolwich cuts rates and launches lifetime tracker

by Gill Montia
Woolwich cuts rates and launches lifetime tracker
Woolwich is cutting mortgage interest rates for the second time in two weeks. The lender, which is part of the Barclays group, is reducing the rate on its 10-year fixed-rate deal by 0.32 percentage points, to 5.94%. Rates on three-year and five-year fixes will fall by 0.2% and 0.1% respectively. The move follows rate cuts by a number of lenders in ...



Home ownership no longer a pension option

by Gill Montia
Home ownership no longer a pension option
Friends Provident is urging homeowners to review their plans for financing retirement, if they have been banking on raising cash from property to provide a nest egg at the end of their working lives. The firm's head of pensions, Jeremy Ward, warns that if house prices continue to fall, people could find themselves in serious financial difficulty with both negative equity ...



July 21, 2008

Further delay in bank charges case

by Kay Murchie
”Further
Consumers who are looking to reclaim unfair overdraft charges will now have to wait a further six months after the Financial Services Authority (FSA) announced today that it is extending the waiver that allows banks not to pay out on claims. The FSA explained that it was extending the suspension of its normal rules, which require banks to deal with complaints ...



Equity release approvals rise 14%

by Gill Montia
Equity release approvals rise 14%
Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP), the body that fosters good practice in the UK's equity release market, has reported a rise in demand for such loans during the second quarter of this year. According to SHIP, homeowners availed themselves of £257.7 million in the three months to the end of June, representing a 14% rise on the amount withdrawn during the pervious three ...