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House prices, spending, staycations and mortgages

26 August 2016

9:37 AM

26 August 2016

9:37 AM

A shift in house price momentum is underway in the UK, as southern cities start to slow down with the north taking their place at the top of the leaderboard.

The Telegraph reports that Glasgow has emerged as the city with the fastest growing quarterly house prices, according to Hometrack’s monitor of the biggest 20 cities in the country. Prices there rose 5.2 per cent in the three months to July.

Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff all recorded high quarterly increases, benefiting from high yields on rental properties, increased affordability and low mortgage rates.

Spending

The under-35s are not a spendthrift generation, but are struggling to save owing to daily financial pressures and low wages, a trade body has said.

Young adults aged 18 to 35 are often described as the Yolo (you only live once) generation. But the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association said that label was unfair, claiming that as many got satisfaction from saving as did from spending.

The cost of living and low salaries were the biggest barriers to saving. Fewer thought that their lifestyle scuppered any attempts to save.

Staycations

The Government is to launch a tourism action plan including cutting red tape for B&Bs and ready-made train tours as an increasing number of Brits take bank holiday breaks in the UK.

The Guardian reports that just over five million Britons are planning a staycation in the UK over the weekend, 6 per cent more than last year, according to Visit England, the tourism promotion body, after a fall in the value of the pound against the dollar and the euro in the wake of the EU referendum vote.

The expected surge comes after a record-breaking first four months of the year for domestic holiday trips in England. From January to April, Britons took 11 million holiday trips, 8 per cent more than during the same period last year, according to Visit England. They spent £2.8 billion, 22 per cent up on last year, more than ever before.


In other holiday news, Thisismoney reports that this summer’s holidays could become truly unforgettable for some Britons. It is taking some holidaymakers as much as 27 years to pay their credit card bills, research shows.

And by the end of these long borrowing sprees they have paid double the price of the trip. More than half Britons pay for their holiday on credit cards, but while the majority does so to get extra protection in the event of things going wrong, almost a quarter said they resorted to a credit card because they don’t have the money upfront.

And one in ten, or 8 per cent of holidaymakers, said they could only afford to make the minimum payment on their credit card each month, according to a survey of 1,000 people by comparison website Money.co.uk.

Brexit

Personal investors took a safety-first approach with their portfolios after the UK’s vote to leave the EU, new figures show.

Investors withdrew £1 billion from investment funds in July, with some moving their money into fixed-income products, the Investment Association said. This withdrawal was not as dramatic as the amounts taken out in June, when the vote was taken. It did mark a significant shift from the £3.7 billion inflow in July last year.

‘UK retail investors remained cautious as they sold out of equity and property funds, favouring fixed income, mixed-asset and absolute return strategies,’ said Guy Sears, interim chief executive of the Investment Association.

Meanwhile, warmer weather and an influx of tourists helped retailers recover from their post-Brexit blues, but there are clear signs that sales are expected to slow in the autumn.

The CBI distributive trades survey, a monthly health check of retailers and wholesalers, found that they enjoyed their best month in August for six months as shoppers bagged summer clothing bargains.

The retail sales volume index rose to +9, its highest since February and a strong recovery from -14 in July.

Mortgages

First-time buyers seeking mortgage loans saw a higher proportion of approvals agreed in the months preceding the EU referendum vote, according to the latest Mortgage Market Tracker from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association. The second quarter of 2016 saw 57 per cent of first-time buyer enquiries result in agreement-in-principles, up from 51 per cent in Q1 2016 – a rise of 6 percentage points.

Meanwhile, aspiring homeowners believe they will need to save for more than four years in order to afford a deposit for their first home, research from Aviva suggests.

Research carried out as part of Aviva’s Home report series showed that UK adults who want to buy a home expect to save for four years and four months on average, in order to build up an adequate deposit. However, one in four non-homeowners believe that they will never be in a position to buy their own property.

In contrast, homeowners over the age of 55 said that saving for their first home took just over half the time – two years and eight months.

Property

New analysis of online property advertisements by Direct Line’s Select premier insurance suggests ‘buyers beware’ as nearly half (48 per cent) of homes for sale across the UK contain at least one bedroom that is potentially listed incorrectly.

The analysis, of 350 four and five-bed houses for sale across ten of the UK’s biggest cities, found over a third of bedrooms rooms listed as ‘singles’ are, in fact, too small for anyone over the age of 10. According to the Housing Act 1985, a child under the age of 10 can occupy a room which is less than 50ft because they are classed as ‘half a person’, however a single bedroom should have a floor space of between 50ft- 70ft.

Finally…

Parents’ purses may be breathing a sigh of relief as the costly school holidays draw to a close. However, new research from American Express shows heading back to school will cost the average family with two children £332 to kit their children out for the new school year.

While trying to balance the back to school books, keeping up appearances is seen as the biggest motivator for extra spending as 44 per cent of parents want their little ones to fit in at the school gates, while just over a third claim pestering children are to blame for the bill.

Proving there’s nothing cool about ‘old school’ these days, one in four parents will treat their children to new tech this September, including iPads, kindles and smart phones, with this figure rising to 56 per cent among children in London.


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