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War threat takes toll on house price confidence

Uncertainty over possible war with Iraq took its toll on house price confidence last month despite the recent 0.25 per cent cut in base rate, according to the Woolwich.

Its consumer confidence research for February found that 55 per cent of the 1,000 people questioned believe house prices will fall compared with 53 per cent in January.

Confidence in the housing market has been falling since a peak of 68 per cent in May last year, which Woolwich says suggests that the public are generally less optimistic about property this year than last year.

There was also a reduction in gross mortgage lending last month to £17.9bn from £19.4bn in January, according to CML figures, although this is well up on the £13.3bn in February 2002.

Woolwich sees this fall in confidence as an early indication that the market will be more realistic this year. with long-term sustainability and affordability replacing rapid growth and cheap borrowing.

Head of lending Andy Gray says: “Global events can play a major part in impacting individual sectors of the economy and the housing market is not immune to wider uncertainty.”


Private pension membership is on decline as young start saving later

Young people are starting pension saving later in life and will have to save longer than previous generations and retire later, says the Pensions Policy Institute.Until recently, membership of a private pension scheme had increased with each successive generation, according to the Pensions Landscape report. The proportion of young people starting private pension provision has […]

&#39Savers have not learned lessons of tech collapse&#39

Investors are still following fads and do not understand the basics of asset allocation, says Isis.The bursting of the bubble means that investors have become more concerned about risk in general but Isis believes that they do not understand the risk of chasing performance.The fund firm says that understanding of asset allocation is so […]

&#39Half of European banks have no budget for Basel II&#39

Half of all European banks, building societies and lenders have no budget set aside to meet the capital requirements of Basel II which are set to be compulsory from 2007.This warning comes from credit risk management consultantcy Scorex following its survey of 55 heads of retail credit with some of Europe&#39s biggest lenders, including 11 […]

Vauxhall puts the brakes on pension transfers

Vauxhall Motors is the latest blue-chip employer to lock final-salary members into its underfunded pension scheme, raising IFA fears of a trend developing where trustees of schemes of well established companies refuse transfer valuations.A subsidiary of General Motors, Vauxhall is relying on Opra&#39s decision to allow schemes to defer transfers until new rules come in […]

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David Cameron appoints former adviser to Tony Blair as new pensions minister

Following a cabinet reshuffle in light of last week’s general election, David Cameron has announced that Ros Altmann will be replacing Steve Webb as pensions minister. As the industry works with one of the largest reforms to the sector in almost a century, the former adviser to Tony Blair has been tasked with ensuring that the pensions revolution does not stray off track.


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