House prices rose by £2,000 a month between April and June to stand at £235,912, up by 2.6%. For the first time since the financial melt-down of 2008, all the regions saw price increases of at least 2 per cent. According to online experts Zoopla the strongest performance was found in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Wales with rises of 3.2 percent or above.
Crisis fears mount as private renting grows. For the first time in half a century, the number of households renting from private landlords has overtaken those in social housing, prompting warnings of a new housing crisis. A shortage of social housing and the increased deposit size needed to buy a home has driven the expansion of the private rental market – a boom for buy-to-let landlords who have surged in numbers in the past decade. However, the trend threatens to undermine Osborne’s hopes of reducing the £23bn annual housing benefit bill.
Families face debt time bomb. More than 800,000 households face the prospect of spending more than half their income on debt repayments when interest rates rise, according to research that underlines the fragility of Britain’s economy. The number of families using more than 50 per cent of their disposable income on mortgages or other debts will spiral, even if interest rates rise in line with market predictions about 2 per cent by 2017.
The income gap shrinks to its narrowest since 1986. New analysis from the Office for National Statistics found the 2011-2012 gap between the rich and poor was the smallest in 25 years. Taking into cash benefits and tax credits the gap between the average income of the top fifth and poorest fifth of the UK has dropped to a ratio of 6:1, with the top fifth earning £80,700 per year compared with the poorest fifth’s £12,900 average.
Humanities graduates shine in business, a new study shows. Students of history, philosophy and English may be weary of being told they frittered away their university years on a useless degree, but they can finally answer back. New research has shown that about 20% of humanities graduates were working in growth-driving sectors such as finance and management at the peak of the UK’s economic boom. However, this summer’s graduates face a tougher jobs market than last year with a 4% fall in the overall number of jobs available, with an average of 85 applications per vacancy.