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Thursday, 16 March 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, March 16, 2017 with No comments | Labels:

Homeowners 'earn' up to £4k MORE a month from their properties than going to work: Ten places where property inflation makes more than your job
The average rise in house prices is outstripping post-tax earnings in a third of local authority districts, according to the report by Halifax, which highlights the gulf between wages and property inflation that is triggering a property crisis. The biggest gap between house prices and earnings is in London's Haringey, where the average home rose in value by £91,000 more over two years than the median earner living there took home after tax. Haringey, in North London, covers an area that includes parts of Finsbury Park, Wood Green, and Tottenham - all areas not typically considered expensive, but which have seen house prices rise rapidly in recent years. The huge gap there was down to house prices in the area rising by an average of £139,000 in the last two years, while median take-home earnings for those living there were £48,353 during the same period. That is a difference of £91,450, or the equivalent of £3,810 per month, according to the report by Halifax. The figures highlight how even in locations not traditionally considered upmarket, house prices are spiralling beyond the reach of the average family. Across the UK as a whole, property price rises outstripped post-tax earnings in 31 per cent of local authorities, up from 28 per cent in 2015, the report revealed. Yet, while this means that almost 70 per cent of areas at least saw post-tax wages match the rise in house prices, the property problems facing people living there remain substantial. Even in South Tyneside, in the North East, where median net earnings of £39,033 were higher than the £35,709 change in house prices, someone hoping to buy the average home would have had to save all but £3,324 of their post-tax earnings just to match the rise in the cost of the property. DAILY MAIL

Budget 2017: Until 2020s the poorest third will be even worse off than after the financial crisis
The UK is on course for an unprecedented 15 years of spending cuts and lost pay growth the Resolution Foundation said. It will leave the poorest third of households worse off than in the years after the financial crisis, it said. Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation, said: "Britain is set for a return to falling real pay later this year, with this decade now set to be the worst for pay growth since the Napoleonic wars. Some households will feel the pinch more than others. The combination of weak pay growth and over £12bn of benefit cuts means that for the poorest third of households this parliament is actually set to be worse than the years following the financial crisis." According to its analysis of the Budget, the Resolution Foundation, which says its goal is to improve lives for people on low and modest incomes, predicts that average earnings are only set to return to their pre-crisis peak by the end of 2022. On public finances, it said that despite the downward revision to borrowing forecasts, the UK was only on course to meet the government's objective of eliminating the deficit in 2025. If it does so, that would be 15 years after the previous chancellor, George Osborne, had started implementing spending cuts and raising taxes. BBC NEWS

16,000 families a year forced to live in half-built new homes as developers 'cut corners to hit targets' and boost profits
When Jordan Barker, 34, and his wife Lindsey, 35, were handed the keys to their new Bovis home in March 2015 their hearts sank. The couple, who have three children — aged seven, five and three — paid £465,000 for the four-bedroom house in Reading, Berkshire. But they arrived to find 15 workmen still finishing jobs. The windows were missing in the bathroom and utility room, and someone was replastering the living room ceiling where there had been a leak from the shower above. As the months went on, the couple discovered more problems. The front door lock worked only some of the time, the door needed realigning, the carpet needed relaying and the whole house needed replastering and repainting. In the kitchen dining room, the tiled floor continued under a wall and protruded into the living room. The garden path also hadn't been laid, leaving bare ground littered with rubble, screws and nails. In total, an exasperated Mr Barker found 176 separate 'snagging' faults and was driven to putting up Post-It notes around the house, pointing the builders to each one. It took until last November for the problems to be fixed — 19 months after the family moved in. The Barkers have since received £2,000 as a 'goodwill gesture' from Bovis. As the Mail revealed this week, almost 16,000 families a year are having to move into new-build homes that have not been finished. Many firms have set tough targets to cash in on huge demand — and meet the Government's pledge to build 200,000 new homes a year. Thousands of victims of poor workmanship have formed groups on social media websites such as Facebook, including Taylor Wimpey Unhappy Customers, Avoid Persimmon Homes and Bovis Homes Victims Group. Paula Higgins, chief executive of HomeOwners Alliance, says: 'You have more consumer protection when you buy a toaster. A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment found more than nine in ten buyers report problems to their builder. Now MPs are privately lobbying the Government to intervene, fearing that standards are falling as builders rake in huge profits. Britain's biggest house builders nearly all reported soaring profits last month. Persimmon reported a pre-tax profit of £783 million for 2016 — a 23 per cent increase on 2015. Barratt Developments saw a 20.7 per cent rise to £682.3 million, Bellway a 36.5 per cent rise to £492 million, Redrow a 35 per cent rise to £140 million and Taylor Wimpey a 21.5 per cent rise to £733.4 million. DAILY MAIL

Weak pound has turned UK companies into 'sitting ducks' as US and Asian giants circle to buy our biggest firms
US and Asian firms will continue to circle the UK's largest companies as sterling's slump and the resilience of the UK economy lays fertile ground for deals, a report has suggested. Andrew Nicholson, the firm's head of M&A, said: 'International buyers emerged as a real force to be reckoned with towards the end of last year, as overseas trade acquirers - most notably those from the US and Asia - acted opportunistically to take advantage of a weakened sterling.' In July last year Japan's Softbank agreed to acquire ARM Holdings, the giant UK semiconductor firm that supplies part of the chip design used in Apple iPhones, in a deal worth more than $32billion. Shortly after popular flights website Skyscanner was bought by Chinese giant Ctrip.com in a deal worth £1.4billion - another UK tech star to fall into the arms of a Far East owner. The deals made a mockery of Prime Minister Theresa May's plans to allow government to intervene in purchases in sectors that are important to Britain. On taking power she had said her government would be keeping a close eye on foreign takeovers. The Office for National Statistics said there was 227 inward M&A worth £187.4billion over the period - its highest annual value on record. Sanjay Thakkar, KPMG's UK head of deal advisory, added: 'Couple brimming war chests with low interest rates, a favourable debt market, a relatively benign economic climate and a desire amongst corporates to disrupt, and it's no coincidence that we have seen a plethora of bids - some successful, some otherwise - hit the headlines since the turn of the year... We foresee this to be just the start, and that 2017 could well end up being a landmark year for deal-making.' DAILY MAIL

Private rents set to rise by 20% in five years: Poorer households being pushed out of the market, warn experts
People on low incomes and housing benefits are being pushed out of the UK's private rental market as rents soar, a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors revealed. A third of respondents to RICS' latest survey said access to private rented properties had fallen among those on housing benefits. Sean Tompkins, chief executive of RICS, said: 'In the current climate, it can be hard enough for young professionals to make ends meet. But for those on benefits, the pressures may be insurmountable... However, if Government were to put in place additional support measures through the introduction of help to rent schemes, the door to the rental market may once again be opened for Britain’s most vulnerable.' Over half of private landlords surveyed said they would be prepared to take on homeless people or those on housing benefits if the Government launched a state-endorsed deposit and rent guarantor scheme. The survey also found that shortages of available properties to rent are mounting, with tenant demand having outweighed the number of new properties coming onto the market for over three years. In England, private rental prices grew by 2.3 per cent, Wales saw growth of 0.4 per cent while Scotland saw growth of 0.1 per cent in the last year. London private rental prices grew by 2.1 per cent in the year to January, which is 0.1 percentage points below the national growth rate over the period. Between January 2011 and January 2017, private rental prices in the UK increased by 14.3 per cent, strongly driven by the growth in private rental prices within London. DAILY MAIL

Median price paid for a home leapt 259% between 1997 and 2016 while earnings rose only 68%
Rising house prices now stand at an average 7.6 times the average annual salary, more than double the figure for 20 years ago, according to official figures. However, the new headline figure disguises dramatic regional variations. In the affluent London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, house prices are typically 38.5 times greater than annual earnings, but, 330 miles to the north-west, prices in Copeland, Cumbria, which includes the port of Whitehaven, are typically 2.8 times the average salary. The new figures for housing affordability in England and Wales between 1997 and 2016 have been issued by the Office for National Statistics. The ONS said housing affordability “has worsened in all local authority districts”. In 1997, house prices were on average about 3.6 times workers’ annual gross full-time earnings. Of the 10 least affordable local authorities, seven were in London. For example, in 1999, an employee in the borough of Camden could expect to pay 7.7 times their annual salary on buying a property, whereas in 2016 this had leapt to an average 19.6 times their annual earnings. Other areas saw much smaller increases over the same period. In Hyndburn in Lancashire, the equivalent figure has risen from 2.6 times to 4.1 times earnings. GUARDIAN

Amazon, Uber, Deliveroo: Gig economy companies trying to have their cake and eat it, say workers
Companies operating in the gig economy are “having their cake and eating it” by treating workers like staff while avoiding the tax and regulations on employing people on full-time contracts, according to a study. The survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the trade body for human resources staff, found that although workers are classified as self-employed, many were concerned about the level of control exerted over them by the businesses they worked for. “This is supported by the data, as just four in 10 gig economy workers, or 38%, say that they feel like their own boss, which raises the question of whether some are entitled to more employment rights,” the report said. The gig economy has become a focus of concern following the commercial success of companies such as Amazon, the ride hailing firm Uber and the delivery service Deliveroo. These companies employ workers on short-term contracts that can last just a few hours, allowing them to avoid paying employers national insurance, sickness and holiday pay. The CIPD found that most people it classified as gig economy workers were permanent employees, students or unemployed people taking jobs to top up their incomes and accepting hourly pay rates averaging between £6 and £7.70 an hour. The CIPD said its survey of more than 5,000 people found that 4% of the working-age population, or 1.3 million people, operated in the gig economy, lower than the 5 million estimated in some studies, though these include people on zero-hours contracts, eBay traders and people who rent out their homes through online apps lsuch as Airbnb. The report, To Gig or Not To Gig: Stories from the modern economy, also found that only 14% of respondents said they did gig work because they could not find alternative employment. The most common reason for taking on gig work was to boost income, which accounted for 32% of responses. GUARDIAN

Audi and VW sites raided in emissions probe
German prosecutors have raided Audi and VW sites as part of a probe into the manipulation of US emissions tests. Officers searched the Audi factory in Ingolstadt in Bavaria, and eight other locations, including parent company Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg. The searches were carried out in order to identify those involved in installing the devices that cheated the diesel tests, Munich prosecutors said. Audi-owner VW has already agreed to settlements of $21bn (£17bn) in the US. The raid at Audi's sites coincided with the company's annual press conference, in which it reported pre-tax profits of 3bn euros (£2.6bn) for 2016, a 37% drop on the previous year. The firm also announced a new autonomous vehicles division. In September 2015, Audi admitted that more than two million of its cars were fitted with software that allowed for the manipulation of test. Prosecutors from three German states said the raids were in connection to some 80,000 V6 3.0-litre diesel cars sold in the US between 2009 and 2015, whose buyers were unaware of the emissions scandal. They added that the search warrants were carried out particular to "clarify which people were involved in applying the [manipulation] technology and in providing false information to third parties". BBC NEWS

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