LSL property figures show that 26,100 first time buyers took out loans in July – the highest number for six years. Andrew Oxlade writing in the Telegraph cites this as evidence of a dramatic uplift in the housing market, with FTBs creating a virtuous circle leaving banks and building societies freer to lend. Oxlade calls the confidence “contagious” in a rare positive outing for the word.
Leading on from this, Simon Read in the Independent writes on the pros and cons of getting on the housing ladder now. Focussing on the cons, Read notes the expectations of a housing bubble could quickly lead to a situation where people buying now face negative equity in the future. However Andy Knee of LMS says there is always an element of risk in buying property. Read also warns against panic buying onto mortgage deals people can’t afford and into houses people may grow to dislike. On the plus side, for those with a large deposit saved, now could be the time to capitalise on low rates before prices start to rise. (The Independent, p. 60, Simon Read)
Almost half of Britain’s companies failed to comply with the law over their taxes Companies House data has revealed. More than 100 firms of the FTSE 350 are hiding profits in undeclared subsidiaries offshore in order to avoid tax – something that is systematic and widespread according to the report.
Weaker than expected US job figures have prompted a rethink on expectations the Federal Reserve is about to reduce its stimulus programme. The percentage of the US population in the labour market fell to its lowest level since 1978 (63.2%) and projections were revised downwards by 74,000. However a conundrum stands in this – as fewer people are looking for work, the unemployment rate has also fallen from7.4% to 7.3%. Employment is closer to its targets for improvement, but only because people have stopped looking for jobs. The Fed will now have to decide whether this is a significant enough reason to reduce the issuing of bonds.