‘Government too slow – more action needed now’ HBF tells MPs

MPs have been told that the Government was far too slow to react to the housing crisis and that drastic action was needed to reverse the dramatic downturn in the housing market before more jobs were lost.
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And whilst welcoming Government action taken so far, including this week's Homebuy Direct announcement, John Stewart, Home Builders Federation's Director of Economic Affairs said that Government action had been consistently too slow in arriving and nowhere near comprehensive enough.

HBF made a series of suggestions to Government in early 2008 and only now, after many businesses have failed and jobs lost, were significant steps being taken - and they were still not enough, it said.

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Need to sell property before 2009? Better be quick

Online estate agent www.discountpropertyshop.co.uk claims it offers homeowners who need to sell before the end of the year, the best bet in this difficult period. Image

The organisation, which only deals with buyers who are ready to proceed quickly, said it was currently selling properties at more than four times the national average.

Mark Brogan, Managing Director of www.discountpropertyshop.co.uk said: “As the country plunges deeper into recession, more homeowners will need to sell quickly, whether because they can’t afford the mortgage payments and need to avoid being repossessed, are relocating, or for other financial reasons.

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Farmland provides shelter from the storm

As the property market continues its decline and residential development land values plummet, agricultural land ends the year up 21.5% on 2007, demonstrating its relative resilience to recessionary forces.
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Analysis by Savills, tracking values back to 1970, clearly shows that agricultural land values are consistently more closely aligned to wheat prices than the broader economy. After a period of volatility this year, wheat prices are expected to rise in 2009, thus providing a good cushion for agricultural land values.

The fourth quarter of 2008 has seen average farmland values across Britain fall by -4.4%, though the extremely strong growth in the first half of the year has kept most areas well into positive territory year on year. Five-year growth at the year end stands at 135%.

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House prices continue to plummet – but finally signs of hope

House prices across the UK plummeted in November, according to the monthly market report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
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However among the gloomy figures revealed by the survey there were glimmers of hope, as for the third month in a row the percentage of first-time buyers in the housing market increased.

From October to November, the average price of a flat fell from £118,334 to £114,288 while a terraced house reduced in value from £151,305 to £149,589.

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Gross lending declines in November

Gross mortgage lending reached an estimated £14.6billion in November according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. This is a 22% fall from October and a 51% fall from November last year.
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While there is typically a decline from October to November, this is considerably larger than usual reflecting the market disruption and continued deterioration of confidence in the economy. 

The CML has also published mortgage market forecasts for 2009, but cautions that in the current challenging environment, the forecasts need to be seen as indicative, rather than as a precise assessment of likely activity.

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Brookside Close sold at auction for £735,000

TV's famous soap set Brookside Close has been sold at auction for £735,000.
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The set from the Channel 4 television soap went under the hammer at Allsop’s residential sale as lot number 307.

The cul-de-sac of 13 properties was purchased by Mersey Television in 1982 as part of a scheme by Phil Redmond to cover the costs of the show and provide a more realistic set to some of their rival soaps.

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More buyers look to enter property market – but fear of recession looms large

Increasing numbers of people believe that the time is right to buy a home, according to the Building Societies Association (BSA) Property Tracker survey.
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It found that 46% of people agree to some extent that now is a good time to purchase.

Despite several reports suggesting further gloom for the housing sector, sellers will take Christmas cheer from the news that the 46% of people represents an increase from the 34% of people who thought September was a good time to buy and the 27% who did in July.

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2 million consumers consider mortgage payment holiday

New research from uSwitch.com reveals that more than two million consumers are considering taking a mortgage payment holiday which could push their monthly repayments up by £54million and increase their total interest by £7.2billion.
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Despite the Government’s recent announcement to offer cash-strapped mortgage customers a two-year freeze on interest repayments, 729,054 people claim that they are considering or have already taken a holiday because they are expecting to be made redundant. With 1522 people currently becoming unemployed every day this problem is only going to get worse.

Following a 12-month holiday, a mortgage for £150,000 will increase by more than £10,000 and the monthly repayments will go up by £80 - this means that consumers with low levels of equity in their homes could find themselves struggling if they need to remortgage.

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CML welcomes changes to the credit guarantee scheme

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has welcomed the Treasury's announcement of changes to the credit guarantee scheme, that will make it cheaper for lenders to gain access to the Government guarantees that help them to gain access to wider market funding.
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The CML said it also noted the Treasury's continuing work towards working up its proposal to seek State Aid approval from the European Commission for the Crosby report proposals, and hopes this can press ahead quickly.

CML director general Michael Coogan said: "The Government now seems to be hearing the message that lenders cannot realistically deliver all that is expected of them under current conflicting expectations, and moving to address some of these.

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What A Find – for cheap designer interiors

With house prices continuing to fall, interiors websites are booming with more and more home owners opting to renovate their properties rather than move.
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And as the recession takes hold - the bigger the bargains the better.

Nowhere more so than at www.whatafind.com - a unique website which retails designer seasonal overstock at discounts of up to 70%.

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