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Not so Golden Brown

Posted by: katalysis

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Last week’s rather anaemic growth figures suggest the economy emerged from recession at the turn of the year. Whilst sceptics have pointed to the fact that the stats may yet be revised downwards at least the respected IMF sees things improving here in the UK. Closer to home MPC member Andrew Sentence in a speech to the British Property Federation focused on the outlook for the Housing Market. Here “Uncertainty” seems to be the key word. Particularly around the general economic backdrop and future interest rates. The problem is that UK inflation has been consistently above expected levels for a long time so base rates may have to rise sooner than is to be hoped. Meantime it’s ironic to see the banks that got us into the mess able to benefit from the lack of competition for mortgage business. With remortgaging difficult except on low loans to value they are able to charge more to their “back book” customers and new customers are having to jump through lots of hoops. Back in July 2007 we cautioned that it was the supply of cheap and easy credit that had fuelled the surge in house prices and that this was not sustainable. At the risk of making some people frown it’s worth repeating that until money for house purchases becomes more plentiful and cheaper then house prices are unlikely to take off again. So if you’re unsure about selling we suggest you ignore the Siren songs about golden times ahead…… otherwise you could spend a long time tied to the mast!
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