There may be a lot of green shoots and positive signs that consumer confidence is returning in the wider marketplace, but there are still some worrying signs that we’re still not yet out of the woods in the financial sector. One rather alarming example is the recent issue at the Co-Operative Bank. The Co-Op group look set to lose control of the bank over a £1.5bn rescue plan opposition, according to some reports. Reported losses for the half year amount to over £700m and PPI miss-selling redress looks set to top £100m. These, amongst other factors, have led the bank in to reviewing urgent ways to raise capital. Negotiations are still on going with investors at the time of writing.
On a much lighter note, the Help to Buy mortgage schemes have certainly bought back some confidence to the consumer market. We’re also seeing some positive moves from lenders across the country as they look to help out with small deposit loans. Two such examples come from the Hanley Building Society and Cambridge Building Society. The Hanley have reduced their 95% loan to value product interest rate by a huge 1%. The Cambridge has now widened their product access to mortgage brokers across the whole of Englandallowing more people to access their 95% products. Both great moves and a welcome boost to market product offerings.
Finally, House Prices are up! Over the year to July 2013, according to the Office of National Statistics, UK House prices had increased by 3.3%. In London alone, there was a 9.7% increase. Halifax said that house prices increased in August 2013 by 0.4% and Nationwide suggest in September there was an increase of 0.9%. The average house price in England is reported to stand at £255,000 (as at July 2013). For First Time Buyers, this is £183,000. For sellers, Hometrack say that the average time for a property to be on the market has fallen to 7.9 weeks, the lowest for six years!