• From This is Money:

    Homeowners willing to price their property at least 25% below its peak value are swamped with offers, agency Savills said.
    The company’s Putney branch said that this month it had seen several ‘realistically’ priced homes go to sealed bids after each spent only a week on the market.
    Now the properties are expected to fetch more than the sellers asked.
    Savills director Caroline Bell said: ‘The reaction is extraordinary when you get the price right. We’re getting more than 10 viewings within a week of the price change in many cases, and then several offers. It’s a situation people had stopped expecting.
    ‘Properties sell when they are priced at their true value, which the market believes they’re worth. That appears to be 25% below a property’s top price in the summer of 2007. There’s a clear tipping point and people are increasingly putting their home up for sale at that price.’
    She said vendors were more willing to drop their prices after a year of stagnation in the property ma…

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  • From This is Money:

    The presenter of Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location had put his own money into Garrington Home Finders in a bid to save it.
    But all ten members of staff at the Chelsea-based company have now been laid off and the firm has gone into administration.
    The property slump forced the guru to scale down his business empire last year and less than 12 months after its glitzy launch, Garrington closed its Cheshire office in November.
    But more cuts were forecast by the London-based business, a firm used by stars such as Kylie Minogue and Keira Knightley.
    Two weeks ago a worker lost his job and was told to claim state redundancy and the presenter admitted he had been personally paying staff for the past six months.
    It was believed that Garrington, of which Spencer, 39, is founder and director, was in talks with accountants Menzies Corporate Restructuring, which handled the collapse of MFI.
    A buyer was being sought, but no one was found and Garrington is now going under.
    Spencer and…

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  • From This is Money:

    The loans appear available, but when borrowers apply, they are turned down. Brokers say this is especially true of the few loans available to first-time buyers with small deposits and younger borrowers, which are in practice almost impossible to obtain.
    Several banks and building societies, including Abbey, Cheltenham & Gloucester, Halifax, the Post Office, RBS NatWest and Yorkshire Building Society, advertise mortgages with only a 10% deposit.
    But brokers say that borrowers are being rejected even when they have an excellent credit history, stable job and high salary. This comes as figures last week revealed that mortgage lending had fallen almost 50% since last year and was at its lowest level since 1974.

    – Find the best mortgage for you

    Arieh Zucker, at mortgage broker Windfall in Horsham, West Sussex, says most of his clients without a 15% to 20% deposit have been rejected by lenders, despite higher loan-to-value deals being widely marketed.
    ‘It would appe…

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  • From The BBC:

    The number of Russian billionaires was cut to 49 from 101 in 2008 by the global downturn, according to Russian business magazine Finans.
    Mikhail Prokhorov, 43-year old technology and mining tycoon, tops the rich list with .1bn (£9.9bn).
    He sold most of his assets last year just before the financial crisis.
    Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is second with .9bn, while last year’s richest Russian, Oleg Deripaska, fell to eighth place with .9bn.
    The financial crisis has cut the combined fortune of the 10 richest Russians by 66% to .9bn, the magazine says.
    Russia, among many other emerging economies, has been hit hard by the global financial and economic crisis after a decade of soaring economic growth.
    The government estimates that growth fell to 5.6% in 2008 from 8.1% a year earlier. In January, Russia’s deputy prime minister said economic growth would be close to zero in 2009.
    Well-timed deal

    A year ago, Mr Deripaska’s fortune was estimated by Finans to be bn, though…

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  • From The BBC:

    Surviving the UK recession will be easier if people face up to any financial issues before they get out of control.
    An array of information is available through the BBC News website and various groups offer help for struggling householders.
    Here is a guide to some of that advice and information.

    The banking crisis has brought the safety of savings into sharp focus, especially after the Northern Rock rescue.
    Savings up to £50,000 per person per licensed bank are guaranteed, should any UK-regulated bank or building society go bust.
    A couple with a joint account is covered per person. So each person in a couple would have £50,000 covered in the account – so up to £100,000 in total would be protected.
    Schemes in the EU have to offer compensation for at least the first 20,000 euros (£16,300), although they may offer significantly more than that.
    For further advice start with this guide to the safety of savings.
    If you are worried about your deposits, see this question and an…

    Click to read the full article »

  • From The BBC:

    Unemployment can be one of life’s toughest challenges, but there are many practical steps you can take to help you best cope.
    An array of information is available through the BBC News website and various groups offer help for people who are unemployed.
    Here is a guide to some of that advice and information.
    RedundancyClaiming benefitsLooking for a jobYour mortgages and risk of repossessionBudgeting and facing your debts

    If you have worked continuously for the same employer for two years or more, you are likely to be entitled to statutory redundancy pay.
    The first £30,000 of redundancy pay is tax-free but the rest, including unpaid wages and bonuses, may be taxed.
    Check out what happens when your employer goes into administration.
    There are also complicated rules for employers on income tax surrounding redundancy payments.
    But there are also opportunities for businesses to strengthen their position.
    If you are being made redundant, there are tips on negotiating redundancy pay…

    Click to read the full article »

  • From The BBC:

    These are undeniably tough times for the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
    With the latest official economic data expected to show later on Friday that the UK is now in recession, many of the country’s more than four million SMEs continue to have a fight on their hands to stay in business.

    Often called “the lifeblood of the economy”, the importance of the SME sector should never be underestimated.
    While SMEs do not generally make the business headlines, they employ 13.5 million people – 59% of the UK’s total private sector workforce – according to the most recent figures from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
    For this reason, their future success is vital.
    While nothing can compensate for insufficient turnover and profit, there is now a wealth of support and advice available for small firms.
    Here is a guide to some of that assistance.
    General adviceDelaying tax paymentsHow to handle redundanciesSecuring a bank loanWinning contractsSec…

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  • From The BBC:

    This year will be the worst time to graduate in two decades, a survey of employers suggests.
    The research is sure to spread gloom among students gearing up for their final exams.
    We look at the key issues:

    Is this the worst time ever for UK graduates?
    The long term trend has been for growth in graduate-level employment, but there have been other bad spells.
    Employment rates among graduates have generally grown over the past 30 years, but there were difficult times in the early 1980s, ’90s and in 2002/3, according to Graduate Prospects, the commercial arm of the UK’s Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hecsu).
    The latest study, from High Fliers Research, found recruitment targets among 100 top UK firms had been cut by 17% for this year.
    Chief executive of Graduate Prospects and Hecsu Mike Hill says times are hard – but graduates have come through difficult times before – the most recent being the collapse of the dot.com boom in 2002/3.
    “Graduates should not panic. There a…

    Click to read the full article »

  • From The BBC:

    The government has announced an extension of assistance for those struggling with mortgage repayments.
    Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the Commons that the government would provide a guarantee, allowing homeowners made redundant to defer payment of some of their mortgage interest payments.
    What proportion of these payments can be deferred will be agreed between the borrower and the lender.
    The eight largest lenders – HBOS, Nationwide, Abbey, Lloyds TSB, Northern Rock, Barclays, RBS and HSBC, which together provide 70% of mortgages – have agreed to sign up to the scheme.
    So what are the new measures?
    The Prime Minister said that people made redundant or who face a “significant loss of income” will be allowed to defer a proportion of interest payments for up to two years.
    This could help families with one earner who has become redundant, a homeowner who has suffered a significant loss of overtime or people who have had to take a lower-paid job.
    The BBC understands that this will…

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  • From The BBC:

    Last year was when the financial crisis really started to bite.
    But some pets have taken the situation literally – by chomping their way through a growing number of banknotes, Bank of England figures show.
    It received 4,916 claims for a total of £113,000 in 2008 from people suggesting their money had been chewed or eaten – up 23% in value on the previous year.
    Total claims for damaged or mutilated banknotes reached £34m, including torn, washed, stained and burnt money.
    Filthy rich
    The list of ways in which bank-notes can be damaged is “almost endless”, according to the Bank of England.

    As well as money put through washing machines, or chewed by a pet, the Bank says that notes hidden for safe keeping are often overlooked.
    These include burnt notes in ovens or microwaves and damp or decayed currency hidden under floorboards or in the garden.
    The most common claims for reimbursement in 2008 were torn notes or fragments of notes. Some 19,235 claims were made, a similar figure to…

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