Friday, 15 January 2016

Jump in buy-to-let demand

Demand for buy-to-let lending increased significantly in the three months to Christmas, according to the Bank of England.

Lenders expect more jostling for buy-to-let mortgages in the first quarter of 2016.

Housing experts predict that prospective landlords will move as quickly as possible to complete purchases before stamp duty on second homes goes up in April.

George Osborne is imposing a 3% surcharge on the duty to target buy-to-let investors.

The Bank of England said 22 per cent more lenders reported increases rather than decreases in the demand for loans.

Looking ahead, 30 per cent more lenders expect demand to grow even further over the next few months.

Yesterday the Council of Mortgage Lenders said the number of buy-to-let loans leapt by 35% in the month of November, compared to the same month a year before.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Young lose out on state pension

The government has published figures showing that most people retiring over the next 15 years will be gainers from the new flat rate state pension which is being launched in April.

But the calculations also demonstrate how millions of young people could lose out significantly from the reform.

The Department for Work and Pensions says that 73 per cent of those reaching pension age between April and the year 2030 will be better off than if the existing system had carried on, typically by £10 a week.

By 2040, though, most new retirees will be receiving around £11 less.

The new State Pension will pay a higher rate, £155.65 a week rather than the current £119.30,

Although under transitional arrangements very few people will qualify for the exact new amount in the early years - some will be paid more and some less.

The increase is paid for by throwing in all the extra payments available at the moment, such as means-tested Pension Credit and the earnings-related State Second Pension.

By the time people just starting out in the world of work, in their twenties, come to retire, virtually all will qualify for the full flat rate payment.

But what is most interesting about these figures is that this younger group will do much worse than if the current rules were left alone.

69% of those retiring in 2050, now in their thirties, will lose out compared to staying in the current system, typically by £14 a week.

And 76% of those in the 20s will get less, typically £15 less.

In most cases this is because they would never have had the opportunity to contribute to the State Second Pension, the most generous current top-up.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Tax boss Homer resigned

HM Revenue & Customs tells me:

Lin Homer told the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, in the summer of 2015 that she wanted to leave at the end of the 2015-16 financial year, after completing the 2015 Spending Review.

Like any other employee who hands in their notice, Lin is leaving without any compensation payments.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Savings rates cut to the bone

Savings rates offered to new customers have reached a fresh low, after banks implemented further cuts.

The Bank of England said that the average new instant access savings account was paying just 0.48% in December, while rates being offered for new tax-free cash ISAs had fallen to 0.85%.

It's not long ago that ISA's were paying more than two and a half per cent.

National Savings cut its Direct ISA rate in November and High Street banks have followed its lead.

Financial experts say banks aren't competing to attract savings in. Instead they are concentrating on winning current account customers by paying them better interest instead.

Halifax, Lloyds, and Nationwide were among those cutting ISA rates last month.

Santander and HSBC have given notice that they'll be reducing them too.

Savers have suffered ever since the Bank's base interest rate was cut to a record low of one half of one per cent in 2009, but in recent months returns have been cut to the bone.