London house prices fall for first time in 8 years

Prices in London fell by an annual 0.6 percent this month, Nationwide said. (Reuters)
Updated 29 September 2017

London house prices fall for first time in 8 years

LONDON: House prices in London have fallen for the first time since 2009 and prices across Britain overall rose at their slowest pace in more than four years in September, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Friday.
In a latest sign of the slowdown in Britain’s housing market since last year’s Brexit vote, Nationwide said prices in London fell by an annual 0.6 percent this month.
The British capital — which has attracted property investors around the world — represented the weakest performing region in the country for the first time since 2005.
Nationally, Nationwide said house prices rose 2.0 percent year-on-year in September, slowing slightly from a rise of 2.1 percent in August and the weakest increase since June 2013.
A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to annual growth of 1.9 percent for house prices across Britain.
Nationwide said pressure on household incomes, caused by rising inflation and slow wage growth, was cancelling out some of the support for the market from rock-bottom interest rates.
The Bank of England is widely expected to raise rates soon, possibly as soon as November 2 at the end of its next policy meeting. But Nationwide said a modest rise by the BoE would probably have only a small impact.
“This is partly because the proportion of borrowers directly impacted will be smaller than in the past. In recent years the vast majority of new mortgages have been extended on fixed interest rates,” Nationwide Chief Economist Robert Gardner said.
British house prices were rising by more than 5 percent a year at the time of last year’s referendum decision by voters to leave the European Union, according to Nationwide’s index, almost three times the current pace of growth.
In month-on-month terms, British house prices rose by 0.2 percent in September after falling by 0.1 percent in August.


Scammers fool Britons with investment firm clones, says trade body

Updated 28 November 2020

Scammers fool Britons with investment firm clones, says trade body

  • Losses amounted to 9.4 million pounds ($12.56 million) between March and mid-October

LONDON: More than 200 British retail investors have lost nearly 10 million pounds ($13.4 million) in total to sophisticated investment scams since a government lockdown in March to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a trade body said on Saturday.
Fraudsters cloned genuine investment management firms’ websites and documentation, and advertised fake products on sham price comparison websites and on social media, the Investment Association said.
Greater financial uncertainty and more time spent online have likely contributed to the increase in scams, industry sources say.
Losses amounted to 9.4 million pounds ($12.56 million) between March and mid-October, the IA said, based on information it got from member firms which had been cloned.
“In a year clouded in uncertainty, organized criminals have sought opportunity in misfortune by attempting to con investors out of their hard-earned savings,” Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association said.
The investment management industry was working closely with police and regulators to stop the scams, he added.
Britain’s Action Fraud warned earlier this month that total reported losses from all types of investment fraud came to 657 million pounds between September 2019 and September 2020, a rise of 28% from a year ago. Reports spiked between May and September, following Britain’s first national lockdown, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting center added.