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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Savills publishes trading update

Savills, the international property adviser, has published its trading update for the year ended 31 December 2008 prior to entering the close period before the announcement of full year results, which is scheduled for release on 11 March 2009.
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Since its Interim Management Statement on 17 October 2008, Savills's transactional businesses world-wide have continued to operate in challenging markets. While some deals are completing, Savills said it was not seeing the seasonal pick up in activity it had grown to expect. Many pipeline transactions, which were at an advanced stage, have either been delayed or are not proceeding.

Savills's consultancy businesses are continuing to trade well but are starting to see the effects of the challenging market conditions with a slowdown in new instructions.

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Equity Release is the next big thing reveals Trigold survey

Equity release is expected to shake up the mortgage market with 95% of brokers claiming that the sector will be either "very important" or "important" in the future.
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The survey to establish attitudes about the future of the equity release market was conducted by software provider Trigold from its users which represent 7 out of 10 brokers.

The survey aimed to establish how important advisors saw the Equity Release market for themselves and their clients both now and in the future and Trigold said that the results were very revealing.

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71% of landlords expecting increase in rental arrears

The National Landlords Association (NLA), which provides landlords with a tenant referencing service through NLA Tenant Check, has published research showing that 71% of landlords expect rent arrears to increase during 2009.
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Of those questioned, just 1% felt that rent arrears would decrease next year, while 28% thought there would be no overall change.

The research also revealed that 67% of landlords have experienced problems with rent arrears in the past, while 37% are having payment difficulties with current tenants.

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