2012年12月31日星期一

Families put big spending on hold to pay off their mortgages as debt falls by £8bn in three months



  • Homeowners paid off more than they borrowed in the third quarter of 2012

  • It was the 18th quarter in a row that mortgage debt has fallen


By Hugo Duncan


|


British households reduced their mortgage debt by £8billion over the autumn as the country battled to put its finances on an even keel.


Figures from the Bank of England yesterday showed that homeowners paid off far more than they borrowed in the third quarter of 2012. It was the 18th quarter in a row that mortgage debt has fallen, and families have now ploughed £137.5billion of equity into their homes since early 2008.


The injection of equity – which increases the proportion that households own against the proportion that is mortgaged – is in stark contrast to the borrowing binge of the decade before the financial crisis struck.


Families have been cutting spending to prioritise mortgage repayment

Families have been cutting spending to prioritise mortgage repayment



Families unlocked billions of pounds from their homes, often in the form of remortgaging and other loans tied to their property, between 1997 and 2008 to fund large purchases such as cars, holidays or home improvements.


But with house prices subdued and borrowers nervous about their jobs, repayments are now outstripping new loans.


Families have been putting big purchases off

Families have been putting big purchases off



Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said the paying off of mortgages ‘suggests there is an ongoing strong desire of many people to improve their personal financial balance sheets’.


It has long been thought that the shift was the result of homeowners taking advantage of ultra-low interest rates to pay off their mortgages.


But the Bank of England report put it down to the low level of house sales since the start of the financial crisis, as nervous would-be buyers hold off and first-time buyers struggle to get loans to get on the housing ladder.


Mr Archer said the new trend was seriously holding back consumer spending and therefore the economic recovery. ‘In past years, housing equity withdrawal has been used significantly to support consumer spending,’ he said.


Dominic Hennessy, managing director of home loan broker Just Us Mortgages, added: ‘The days of regular house moves and remortgaging are well and truly over. People are stockpiling cash and reducing debt, not adding to it.’



HOPES OF HOUSE PRICE RISE AT HIGH



Confidence that house prices will increase over the next year has gone up to its strongest level in at least 18 months, research suggested today.


Nearly four in 10 (38%) of people predict that house prices will rise over 2013, while less than a fifth (18%) forecast declines, Halifax said.


The overall price outlook balance, which is worked out by subtracting the share of people who expect price falls from those who predict rises, stands at 20, which is the highest reading since the survey began in April 2011.


Despite the overall increase in confidence that house prices will rise next year, Halifax found evidence that the market will remain fairly sluggish.


Some 53% of those surveyed said that 2013 will be a good time to buy - around four times the 13% who said it will be a good time to sell.


Only 9% thought it would be a good time to both buy and sell in the coming months, suggesting that activity will still be subdued, Halifax said.


Halifax recently said that it expects house prices to remain flat over the next year, while some other surveys have predicted small increases or decreases.


The South East was the region where people were most likely to predict price rises, closely followed by Yorkshire and the Humber, Halifax found.

People living in Wales and the East were the least likely to say that prices are set to increase.


London, where the market has remained relatively strong due to interest from overseas buyers, also had a below-average share of people predicting house price rises this year.


Some studies have recently suggested that the London market could cool off slightly next year, although it is still expected to be one of the strongest regions for house price growth.


Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said the "remarkable stability" of the housing market despite the difficult economy is likely to have been key in lifting people's house price expectations for 2013.


But he added: 'Ongoing concerns over job security and the challenges in raising a deposit are likely to constrain housing demand and activity next year.


'Accordingly, we expect continuing broad stability in house prices nationally in 2013.'


The number of mortgages on the market has increased by around a fifth since a multi-billion pound Government scheme was launched in August to boost lending to households and firms.


But some 58% of people surveyed said concerns about job security were a barrier to buying a home and 55% said that raising a deposit was still a big hurdle.


The proportion of people concerned about job security has jumped by seven percentage points since a similar study was carried out in October.


Around 1,900 people took part in the study across Britain.









Happy New Year! Enormous firework display lights up central London as UK celebrates 2013 in style


By Anthony Bond


|


An enormous firework display in central London has kick-started Britain's new year celebrations in style.


Thousands of people have lined the banks of the Thames to see the extravagant firework display light up the capital.


Up and down the country, millions of people have packed into town's and cities to celebrate 2013 following the astonishing success of 2012.


Bright: An enormous firework display in central London has kick-started Britain's new year celebrations in style

Bright: An enormous firework display in central London has kick-started Britain's new year celebrations in style



Colourful: Thousands of people have lined the banks of the Thames to see the extravagant firework display light up the capital

Colourful: Thousands of people have lined the banks of the Thames to see the extravagant firework display light up the capital



Lavish: The London Eye is barely noticeable thought the bright firework display

Lavish: The London Eye is barely noticeable through the bright firework display



Happy: Revellers write the number 2013 with sparklers during the Hogmanay street party celebrations in Edinburgh

Happy: Revellers write the number 2013 with sparklers during the Hogmanay street party celebrations in Edinburgh


Hogmanay celebrations kicked off earlier in Scotland's capital as crowds of revellers gathered to bring in the new year.


Tens of thousands of people are expected to party on the streets of Edinburgh for the world-famous event.


Scottish rock band Simple Minds will headline the Concert in the Gardens, with performances also from The View and Bwani Junction.



Beautiful: Fireworks went off earlier this evening over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations

Beautiful: Fireworks went off earlier this evening over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations



Friendly: Kat Parker, left, and Georgia Rochester, right, kiss Sergeant Stevenson, centre, ahead of the new year celebrations in Edinburgh

Friendly: Kat Parker, left, and Georgia Rochester, right, kiss Sergeant Stevenson, centre, ahead of the new year celebrations in Edinburgh



The street party is expected to see up to 80,000 party-goers welcome in 2013, with performances from Mercury Prize nominees The Maccabees and Reverend and the Makers.


There will be five live stages and countdown fireworks are being held every hour from 9pm until the midnight display from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle.


Pete Irvine, artistic director of Edinburgh's Hogmanay, said: 'I think it's going really well this year.


'Last night we had our opening event with a record crowd at the torchlight procession.


Fun: Celebrations were underway in Newcastle city centre long before the bell struck midnight as the Spark drumming band entertained the crowds

Fun: Celebrations were underway in Newcastle city centre long before the bell struck midnight as the Spark drumming band entertained the crowds



Colourful: The band changed colour during their performance, much to the delight of the large Newcastle crowd

Colourful: The band changed colour during their performance, much to the delight of the large Newcastle crowd



'It's really, really busy here tonight - probably busier than we've seen it in some time because the weather is so good.


'There's a moon in the sky, it's actually not cold and it's not raining.


'We've been very lucky with the weather and I think we are going to be very lucky with the crowd and all the performances tonight on many stages.'


Early celebrations got under way in the city dubbed the home of Hogmanay last night with a torchlight parade.


A record crowd estimated at 35,000, including 7,000 torch carriers, were led by the massed pipes and drums and the Up Helly Aa' Vikings from Shetland. The procession made its way through the city streets to the burning of the effigy of a Viking boat and a spectacular Son et Lumiere display on Calton Hill.


Events will also take place on New Year's Day, including sled dog races at Holyrood Park and a triathlon which will see competitors swim 400 metres of the Royal Commonwealth Pool, cycle 11 miles around Arthur's Seat and then run 3.5 miles.


The Loony Dook, the annual dip in the River Forth at South Queensferry, will also take place.







Babies, weddings and breakups to look forward to in 2013


By LISA GUTIERREZ


The Kansas City Star


The Kansas City Star


Updated: 2013-01-01T01:37:32Z






Alastair Grant


Britain's Prince William and wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting in 2013.







Babies on the way


Next year will bring a nursery full of new celebrity offspring from Jessica Simpson, Kristen Bell, Holly Madison, Camila Alves, Jenna Bush Hager and Jenna Dewan-Tatum. But the most famous child arriving in 2013 will be the possible future king or queen of England, born to the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William. Do they make scepter-shaped rattles?A slew of I do’sRumors have it that local funny guy Jason Sudeikis and gal pal Olivia Wilde are planning to tie the knot in Lawrence sometime in 2013. But there are two more high-profile celebrity ceremonies to watch for next year, if only to see who makes it to the altar first.Jennifer Aniston, ex-wife of Brad Pitt, is engaged to Justin Theroux and reportedly planning a low-key affair with a handful of guests. But sorry, Jen. We’re more keen to see the photos from Brad and Angelina Jolie’s wedding. Which of the six kids will get to carry the ring? Here’s hoping they wed close by in Brad’s hometown of Springfield, Mo. We promise not to stalk them.Small screen stuffThere will never be another “Sex and the City.” Carrie Bradshaw and company — Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte — live on in reruns only. But a new generation will get a taste of “Sex” when “The Carrie Diaries” debuts on Jan. 14 on The CW. AnnaSophia Robb will play Carrie as a teenager in the ’80s, before she was a sex columnist. Hmm, maybe we’ll stick with the reruns.The prospect of seeing Kevin Bacon on TV every week excites us more. On “The Following,” debuting Jan. 21 on Fox, he plays an FBI agent who comes out of retirement to investigate a copycat serial killer. Maybe he’ll dance?Breakups and makeupsDon’t hate us, but we predict that these three relationships will be history before Valentine’s Day: Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez (yeah, we know they already broke up, but they just spent time together over the holidays), John Mayer and Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift and Harry Styles from One Direction. And, we predict that Taylor will date at least six more guys in 2013. Sad beautiful tragic.






Organic food helped me beat cancer, says Marchioness who lived on 'alkaline diet' during chemotherapy



  • The Marchioness of Worcester was diagnosed with lymph and breast cancer

  • She says that an 'alkaline diet' kept her strength up during chemotherapy

  • The diet cuts out alcohol, meat and processed food


By Rosie Taylor


|


The Marchioness of Worcester has said an organic diet and complementary medicines helped her beat cancer.


Speaking for the first time since she was diagnosed with breast and lymph cancer in 2009, she said an ‘alkaline diet’ free from alcohol, meat and processed food helped her through chemotherapy and radiotherapy by maintaining her strength.


The Marchioness, 54, said: ‘My doctor said he had never known anyone be quite so well, I would put it down to complementary medicine and alkalining my body.’


Recovery: The Marchioness of Worcester, pictured in May last year, says that an 'alkaline diet' of organic foods has helped her beat cancer

Recovery: The Marchioness of Worcester, pictured in May last year, says that an 'alkaline diet' of organic foods has helped her beat cancer



The Marchioness was one of the stars of detective show 'C.A.T.S. Eyes' alongside Jill Gascoine and Leslie Ash in the Eighties

The Marchioness was one of the stars of detective show 'C.A.T.S. Eyes' alongside Jill Gascoine and Leslie Ash in the Eighties



An alkaline diet claims to prevent cancer by making body fluids less acidic. It is commonly used as an alternative medicine though medics question its effectiveness.


But the Marchioness, who was born Tracy Louise Ward and starred in the 1980s television detective series C.A.T.S. Eyes, told the Daily Telegraph she had ‘never felt better’.


She recommended everyone eat organic food as it has fewer pesticides, try a vegetarian diet with more raw vegetables and take supplements such as omega 3.


She said she had never spoken about her diagnosis before because it was ‘just so boring’. She added: ‘Why become obsessed by something so boring and negative when the world is such an interesting place?’


In 1987 the mother of three married the Marquis of Worcester, the eldest son of the 11th Duke of Beaufort, who owns Badminton estate.


She revealed she sent her two sons and a daughter to Marlborough College – the school attended by Kate Middleton – only because she was expected to do so by her husband’s family. She said: ‘I did not want it but it was demanded in this family.


‘This country is the only country in the world where normal children are sent to boarding school, normally it is just problem children.’


Husband: The Marchioness married the Marquis of Worcester, pictured, the eldest son of the 11th Duke of Beaufort, in 1987

Husband: The Marchioness married the Marquis of Worcester, pictured, the eldest son of the 11th Duke of Beaufort, in 1987



She admitted she had problems at boarding school herself and was expelled several times.


She said the schools were elitist and failed to teach children about the real world.


The Marchioness, who is the great-granddaughter of the Earl of Dudley, said she would prefer money to be spent on state schools.


She said: ‘We are enslaved to earning enough money to send people to the boarding school club.


‘It would be great to be freed from that so that everyone’s children had a good education.


‘It makes a division in society. Wouldn’t it be better if we all had the time and money to make sure everybody’s school was good?’


The Marchioness, who prefers to be known as Tracy Worcester, campaigns against factory farming and donated to the bail money for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.