View more on these topics

Forecasts for 2004 are raised as markets rebound

Rightmove was the most upbeat of the house price indices in March, showing a 2.9 per cent increase compared with 2.1 per cent in February.

It says annual house price inflation rose to 11.9 per cent in March from 10 per cent in February, putting the average asking price at £179,570.

Commercial director Miles Shipside says: “All the indices are seeing the same thing. The market has rebounded with a vengeance this year and for the moment there is no sign of it abating. Those cautious commentators who had predicted 5 per cent house price inflation for the whole of the year have clearly underestimated the strength of the market, since house prices are already up by at least 5 per cent, with estate agents in some areas reporting even bigger increases.”

Halifax&#39s house price index shows a 2.2 per cent increase in March, up from 1.7 per cent in February. It estimates the annual change in house prices at 18.5 per cent compared with 17.8 per cent in February and says the average house price is now £151,476.

Halifax says the gap between average prices in Greater London and the North has narrowed by almost £10,000 over the past year. Chief economist Martin Ellis says: “The ongoing strength of the market has taken the average UK house price through the £150,000 barrier for the first time.”

According to Nationwide, the rise in prices slowed to 1.4 per cent in March from 3.1 per cent in February. However, it has increased its forecast for 2004 to 15 per cent from 9 per cent because of the stronger than expected start to the year.

Its survey shows that the average house cost £142,584 in March. Group economist Alex Bannister says: “We remain confident that price growth will moderate during 2004 in response to higher interest rates. We expect base rates to reach 4.75 per cent by the end of the year.”

Hometrack again showed the smallest monthly increase in house prices at 0.7 per cent, down from 0.9 per cent in February. However, it says ongoing pent-up demand in the market has persuaded it to upgrade its annual forecast to 8 per cent from 4 per cent. Hometrack says the average house cost £149,800 in March.

Housing economist John Wriglesworth says: “Doom-mongering, headline-grabbing economists predicting an imminent housing market crash will soon have to raise their own forecasts or face the consequences of looking incredibly foolish.”


CA wants review to address shortfalls

The Consumers&#39 Association wants a Higgs-style report on with-profits, which it says would sort out the issue of compensation for failing policies. CA senior policy researcher Mick McAteer questioned at the MM round table debate on with-profits whether with-profits are suitable for the “middle mass market” of ordinary savers rather than the well-off or people […]

The Isa season springs back

The Isa season may be over but it was not, as many predicted, dead. Early indications from some of the leading providers show that sales have rocketed since last year&#39s disaster, providing a much-needed fillip to what was increasingly being viewed as an irrelevance to most firms&#39 businesses. It is far too early, however, to […]

£14m injection for BBNFS liabilities

Berkeley Berry Birch has been forced to pump £14m into Berry Birch & Noble Financial Services to meet its misselling liabilities. BBB chairman and chief executive Cliff Lockyer says an agreement had been reached with the FSA to cover any pension review liabilities – which reached £8.4m in total – in the reverse takeover of […]

Investment edge

Out of all the ideas that are thought up every day, some are crazier than others. Most disappear without a trace while some develop sufficient momentum to live a short while. Others acquire the necessary oxygen to merit attention. These become the items on our “to do” lists. They clog up our electronic mailboxes, tie […]

Graphic Content – August

Given the release of employment data from the US on 5 August, we wanted to focus on employment data in this month’s Graphic Content. The Graphic Content below shows us that young and middle-aged workers were hit the hardest by the Great Recession and have never caught up. Since the job market started to recover […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm