Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and Helen Crane ask: do we have a mortgage price war on our hands — the cheapest market rate is now just 4.29%? Meanwhile the gold price is at a record high, and the oil price has fallen to its lowest for the past five months.
We love the idea of transforming our homes so much that an entire cottage TV industry has sprung out of it, ranging from Grand Designs, to Ugly House to Lovely House and Your Home Made Perfect. For Jaemi and Roly Glancy sketching out how they could renovate their properties turned into a start-up helping others envisage what they could do with theirs. Simon Lambert of This is Money speaks to Roly about how they started the business and where it's going.
What drives you mad about going to the supermarket? Is it self-service tills, scanning receipts to get out, loyalty scheme dual pricing, or prices being hiked well above inflation? Many of us want to support bricks and mortar retail, but there are times when shops seem to mainly be involved in testing our patience. In a week in which the competition watchdog fired a broadside at the consumer brands giants for pushing up prices, a practice dubbed ‘greedflation’, and sounded a warning to Tesco and Sainsbury’s over Clubcard and Nectar Prices, the This is Money podcast team head down the shops. Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert discuss what’s good, what’s bad and what really gets their goat. Plus, will a new online fraud charter make any difference? The team discuss investing legend Charlie Munger and financial crisis Chancellor Alistair Darling, who both died last week. And finally, what makes a house price hotspot – we look at the UK’s top 30 this year.
The Autumn Statement was the definition of a mixed bag. There was a National Insurance cut, but the stealth income tax raid continued. The ISA system got an improvement, but the allowance remained frozen. Meanwhile, the triple lock was delivered along with a pension pot-for-life plan but inheritance tax remains firmly uncut at 40%, with all its weird quirks intact. So, was that an Autumn Statement to fire Britain on to growth, as the Chancellor claimed, or a damp squib? Georgie Frost, Tanya Jefferies, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert dive into the details to reveal what the Autumn Statement means for you and the economy. From the Office of Budget Responsibility forecasts to being allowed multiple ISAs and the seemingly mad plan of allowing family homes to be easily converted to flats, the team take the measure of Jeremy Hunt’s plans. And they look ahead to whether there will be more tax cuts to come in the Budget – and whether Britain’s stealth tax and marginal tax trap mess will ever get sorted.
The Autumn Statement arrives next week and the rumour mill has gone into overdrive. The idea of it being a simple update on the economy seems to have been abandoned and instead there is talk of an ISA overhaul, tax changes, and even inheritance tax being cut from 40% to 20%. But if you were Chancellor for the day, what would you do? Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert look at what could be on the cards as Jeremy Hunt stands up and delivers his Autumn Statement next week. On their agenda: Stealth tax - will the income tax thresholds freeze end? Inheritance tax - will the rate be cut to 20%? ISAs - will the allowance be boosted and the system improved? Savings - could the personal savings allowance get a rise?
We all know pensions are important but most of us rarely engage with them. Yet, with a little bit of time and effort, you can get your work pension working as hard as possible for you - and at some point in the future you will be very glad you did so. Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert talk pensions: why you should start early, the reason that it involves free money, how to invest for a richer retirement many years down the line and much more. Also on the agenda, what happens if you get stuck in a mortgage with your ex, why is Lee so annoyed at a sneaky insurance tax that swiftly adds up, and can M&S's sales and share price resurgence continue? And finally, listen to the end if you want to find out where Lee buys his socks and Georgie gets her underwear.
Have interest rates peaked? After an inflation spike rudely awoke them from their slumbers, the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve have shown us that rate hiking can be a difficult habit to break. But 14 consecutive rate rises into an astonishing run from 0.1% to 5.25% for the base rate, the Bank of England suddenly paused six weeks ago. And then, on Thursday, it did it again. On both of those occasions, the Fed had also just done the same thing across the Atlantic. So, are we finally there? When does a pause become a peak? And if we have reached the top of the interest rate cycle, what happens next? Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert look at the decision to hold rates again and what it means for savers, mortgage borrowers and investors. Plus, what are Andrew Bailey’s Bank of England and Jay Powell’s Fed telling us about their respective economies – and how divergent are the paths of the UK and US? Also on this episode, Crane on the Case digs into a how an entirely explainable and obvious error somehow led to a reader facing more than £8,000 of fines and Transport for London refusing to budge until we stepped in. Plus, some previous high-flying investment trusts are going cheap, so is this the time to invest? Simon takes a look. And finally, what have the Premium Bonds and a pop quiz on number one hits in 2000 and 2008 got to do with each other? Listen to the end if you want to find out why you need to know that the UK number one, in February 2008, was Duffy singing Mercy.
Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and Tanya Jefferies discuss a new online service coming next Spring for state pension top-ups. Also, Simon looks at what's going on in the Bond market. There's also comment on premium bond values, and the team pick up a cause of local disputes: cameras in the back garden!
Wages are up, but inflation is — the same. What does it all mean for mortgage rates, the state pension, benefits and the economy generally? One thing we know won’t be affected by the latest figure is income tax bands. Just how much is the big freeze – AKA fiscal drag - going to cost us? That’s on the agenda for Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost this week as the latest CPI reading stuck at 6.7%. At the start of the year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set the target to halve inflation by the end of 2023. And it was looking promising. But this latest inflation figures might have thrown a bit of spanner into the works. What’s going on at Royal Mail? Some households say they are only receiving their post once a week. Hospital appointment letters, birthday cards, parcels and important bills have all gone missing in delays caused by a staffing crisis. In Brighton, households say they’re receiving mail as infrequently as just once a fortnight. Picking an estate agent to sell your home is so important. A good agent will make finding your buyer seem like a breeze. Choose the wrong one and it can cause untold stress, drag the whole process out and you could end up being forced to reduce your asking price and ultimately sell for less. So how do you pick a good ‘un? And just what is gazundering – and why is it back with a vengeance? The new Tesla Model 3 arrives on our fair shores in January - but how much will it cost and is it any good? If it proves to be out of your budget range what about Citroen's new e-C3, set to start from around £17,000. And — range anxiety is real: so would you take an EV on a continental road trip? Paul Barker, motoring journalist of decades, gave it a go and diarised it for you.
House prices will continue to fall, says an influential poll of estate agents. The latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors found that buyer demand is declining and fewer homes are coming to the market. Meanwhile, Halifax’s latest house price figures show a £14,000 drop compared to the recent peak in August 2022 and 4.7% fall in the year to the end of September, the largest since 2009. So, how much further could they fall and are buyers in danger of trying to time the market? Will there be a big pause before a general election next year?
Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and Lee Boyce discuss the age old favourite of house prices. Last week has also seen the Bank of England sound the alarm over 35 year mortgages – should we be concerned? Skipton Building Society launches a headline mortgage rate of 3.35%. What’s the catch? It comes as its rival Nationwide has new best buy home loan rates. Could mortgage deals continue to fall? And we look at the top up-and-coming areas for first-time buyers: Does your area make the cut? Spoiler: it features Hull, Middlesbrough and Ipswich. DIY investors went on a gilt-buying spree in September - shunning the stock market and savings accounts. The UK government bonds were paying as little as 0.125% last month – so why were they getting involved? Hargreaves Lansdown is launching a basic, no-frills pension for those who want an easy way to invest for retirement but aren’t quite sure how to get started. They are the first SIPP provider to give details after regulators said they had to offer customers a 'default' option by the start of December. Will it make SIPPs sexy enough to the self-employed? Shrinkflation, bogus loyalty card savings and variable prices in supermarkets... we’re fed up with the lot of them. Are you?
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