Stephen Foley: America on bailout red alert again

You can’t put a price on the change in consumer and business confidence that has come about because property prices have arrested their decline. The imploding financial system, the collapsing consumer economy, the creeping blight of many neighbourhoods across the US ? the FHA has been a key piece of all of these.

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The mystery of the rising house prices

The conundrum is this. Unemployment is close to 2.5 million and will go higher. Pay rises are rare. People fear debt. The credit crunch has hardly gone away, meaning that mortgage finance, especially for first-time buyers with slim deposits, and movers with little equity, is expensive, if available at all. Mortgage approvals may be up on last year, but the new money going into the market isn’t sufficient to secure rising prices. Values are steep by long-term historical standards in relation to earnings, especially in London.

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Lenders at odds over mortgage promise as home loans slump again

Author: By James Daley, Personal Finance Editor

New figures, published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, highlighted the desperate state of the British mortgage market, revealing a 63 per cent drop in mortgage lending in August, compared to the same month last year.

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First-time buyers tap parents for deposit

Author: By Sean O’Grady, Economics Editor

The Council of Mortgage Lenders says that as many as 80 per cent of first-time buyers aged under 30 are receiving help from parents to find a deposit in a market where prices remain historically high in relation to salaries and wary banks and building societies routinely demand deposits of 25 per cent. About 40 per cent needed that extra boost before the credit crunch. But the CML added that the situation was at least not worsening, and the typical first-time buyer income multiple had held at 2.97 in May.

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Mortgage rates fall back but 100 per cent deals are dead

Author: By James Daley

However, it is now only home owners who have a minimum 25 per cent of equity in their properties, who qualify for the best rates, with many first-time buyers having to pay much higher rates than they would have last year.

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Fashion flashback – a 100% mortgage

In a bid to breathe new life into a comatose mortgage market, Abbey National announced that it was bringing back the 100 per cent home loan for the first time since 1989.

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As first-time buyers vanish, the lights go out across Britain

Yet this vital source of investment has all but dried up. The number of first-timers this year could be the lowest on record. In 1999, almost 600,000 people bought their first property, but then soaring prices started to make homes unaffordable and that number dropped steadily. Last year it stood at 358,000 ? its lowest level since 1991.

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James Moore: Construction figures mask deep malaise

Yesterday’s figures from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) showed a continuing fall in construction activity – the 18th consecutive monthly decline. It was of little comfort that the rate of contraction has fallen somewhat ? the sector continues to struggle and its by no means clear when the Tamiflu will be applied to the economic H1N1.

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Bad debts halve profits at HSBC

Author: By Russell Lynch, Press Association

The 51 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to 5 billion US dollars (£2.98
billion) came after its bad debt charges soared 39 per cent to 13.9 billion
US dollars (£8.3 billion).

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Stephen King: The emerging world deserves to catch up ? and we must grow up

Meanwhile, in the UK, the various house price surveys suggest the market, once seemingly in free-fall, has turned the corner. The Nationwide index, for example, has risen for two successive months.

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