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Banks To Be Stress Tested On 35% Drop In House Prices

Banks To Be Stress Tested On 35% Drop In House Prices

Banks Stress Tested On 35% Drop In House Prices
And 5% Rise In Interest Rates

UK and Continental banks are to be stress tested using a worst case scenario in an effort to assess if they could cope with a house price slump of 35% or a sudden spike in interest rates to more than 5%, the exercise will be monitored by the Bank of England.

Sky News broke the story on Monday ahead of an official announcement on Tuesday by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), after learning that banks would be subjected to an armageddon style scenario to see if they have sufficient capital to withstand another economic slump.

A series of commercial real estate losses is expected to be applied to the banks’ balance sheets as part of the tests, but it’s not certain whether or not the interest rate hike will be quantified as part of the tests, but the 35% slump in property prices could reveal if banks and building societies would need to raise billions of pounds of fresh capital to survive, unless they can demonstrate their ability to withstand such a huge slump.

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Chancellor Insists Help-To-Buy scheme Is Part Of A Healthy Property Market

Chancellor Insists Help-To-Buy scheme Is Part Of A Healthy Property Market

Chancellor insists that 95% mortgages underwritten by Government are Part Of A Healthy Property Market

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne has hailed the wider recovery of the UK’s economy and taken a swipe at the critics of his housing policies, insisting that large home loans are part of a “healthy market” and “aspirational society”.

Several Government schemes have been announced since the start of the year aimed to get banks and mortgage lenders to increase both the availability and affordability of mortgages in the UK.

The Government’s Help-To-Buy scheme has been the most controversial, because the Government underwrites high loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages, removing some of the risk from mortgage lenders, enabling them to offer cheaper mortgage loans to borrowers who only have small value deposits.

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Help To Buy Scheme Could Cause New Property Bubble

Help To Buy Scheme Could Cause New Property Bubble

Critics Warn Help To Buy Scheme Will Cause New Property Bubble

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has launched the second phase of the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme and laid out the terms of a programme that will underwrite UK residential property purchases up to the value of £600,000 (GBP) following a meeting with mortgage lenders and house-builders.

A number of groups, however, have warned that, if this scheme is allowed to drive up house prices in the UK, it will cause another property ‘bubble’ and encourage people to take on huge mortgages.

George Osborne is hopeful that the terms of the scheme will prevent another property bubble, as there are now strict income checks and other lending criteria imposed by mortgage lenders and the loan scheme will not be allowed to be used by purchasers to acquire second homes.

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Empty Property Rates - £1.1 Billion Tax Bombshell

Empty Property Rates – £1.1 Billion Tax Bombshell

The taxpayers Alliance have reported that a massive £1.1 Billion (GBP) was paid last year in Business Rates on empty properties, a rise of 19% between 2009/10 and 2011/12

This is the first time that a figure has been calculated for the amount collected in empty property rates since exemptions for empty commercial and industrial properties were abolished at the 2007 Budget.

Before 2007, empty industrial properties were exempt from Business Rates and empty commercial properties were subject to extensive reliefs and reductions.

Apart from a short exemption period and extremely limited reliefs, full Business Rates are now payable on all empty commercial and industrial properties.

With the economic downturn making it increasingly difficult for commercial landlords to find new tenants, this tax has had some devastating effects:

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Minutes from the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting show The Bank of England has sharply downgraded its growth forecast for the rest of the year, cutting their rate to close to zero, after having expected much stronger growth as recently as August.

The Minutes, released last Wednesday, show that the MPC voted unanimously to increase its quantitative easing programme by £75 billion, although discussed the possibility of raising it to £100 billion.

In its last quarterly report in August, the Bank estimated a 0.4% quarter on quarter growth for the last 3 months of the year and an annual 2.1% compared to the last quarter of 2010.

Independent analysts are beginning to downgrade forecasts for 2011 to below 1%. After the Minutes were released, the LibDem Business Secretary, Vince Cable, refused to rule out the possibility that there could be a double-dip recession.

In an outspoken interview, he admitted the “brutal reality” was that Britain’s economy is deteriorating.

During the week independent think-tank, the Centre for Economic and Business research, (CEBR), revised down its growth forecast for next year to 0.7%, below the Office of Budget Responsibility’s forecast of 2.5% and also revised down its growth forecast for this year to 0.6% from a range of 1% to 1.5%.

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