GETTING your foot on the property ladder can feel like an impossible task. Nowadays, first time buyers are expected to fork out around £50,000 on a mortgage deposit, so it's no wonder that the average Brit isn't likely to become a homeowner until they're 33. Even though the Chancellor offered a helping hand by scrapping stamp duty first-time buyers, estate agents reckon it's showed little sign of boosting the housing market. Add in spiralling house prices and first-time buyers waiting an average of seven years to save up their deposit, it can all feel a bit glum, particularly if the bank of mum an dad isn't an option. But it is doable and there are ways you can get the financial support you need, you just need to know where to look. From government schemes to part ownership, here's how you can become a home owner. What is Help to Buy? Help To Buy is a government scheme designed to help people get on the property ladder without the need for the large, up-front deposit which puts … [Read more...] about What are Help to Buy and Shared Ownership and are there other government schemes to help you buy your first home?
Buying your housing association house
FIRST LOOK – BILL GATES, in his annual letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, tonight will make a full-throated appeal to policy makers – and voters – to continue to support effective aid that can lead to better lives. He believes we must build on the incredible progress in health and development, and not let excuses keep governments from helping the world’s poorest. Now, more than ever, he says, we have a real opportunity to help people build self-sufficiency and overcome the need for aid. Also, not surprisingly for a man who made his fortune through innovation, he touts innovation as the key to improving the world. His letter describes innovations in health (vaccines, AIDS drugs) and in agriculture (disease-resistant seeds) that have transformed people’s lives. The full letter will be posted here at 7 p.m. www.gatesfoundation.org/annualletter. An exclusive sneak peek for Playbook readers: --“Throughout my careers in software and … [Read more...] about DEBATE STOPS MITT BLEEDING — Newt surge in polls- Boehner: ‘nearly impossible’ to lose House -State of Union pillars: manufacturing, energy, skills/innovation — Peter Nicholas to WSJ
HOW THE SAUSAGE GETS MADE – READ A QUOTE AS PUBLISHED, AND HOW IT WAS EMAILED TO THE REPORTER – “GOP group money down, hints at donor uncertainty,” by AP’s Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines and Steve Peoples in Boston: “The biggest Republican-leaning money machines are spending dramatically less to help the party ahead of the 2014 congressional elections, a year after big-dollar conservative groups poured millions into unsuccessful campaigns … Groups such as American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce no longer are willing to risk major investments on hard-line conservatives who embarrassed GOP leaders last fall and rattled the confidence of party donors. … ‘Unlike previous cycles, we won't be sending good money after substandard candidates with weak campaigns,’ said Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for the conservative super political action committee American Crossroads.” http://goo.gl/ADHArB --HERE’S … [Read more...] about HOUSE GOP pondering 2014 agenda: Job training, college costs, charter schools, fracking among the issues on the table — JOSH KING, MATT BENNETT look back Dukakis in the tank
Last Updated Aug 24, 2010 12:04 PM EDT Existing home sales fell off a cliff in July, dropping 27.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.83 million units, their lowest level in more than a decade, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported. The report caused the stock market to jump off the same cliff, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average trading 164 points off its open in the moments following the report. Investors fear that continued weakness in the housing market could push the economy back into a negative spiral. Meanwhile, economists at all levels have been trash talking the concept of home buying. "If the American people are looking at the housing market to be their investment opportunity, I think they are making a mistake," Thomas Hoenig, president of Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, told a Congressional panel yesterday. The New York Times published a piece titled "Housing Fades As A Means To Build Wealth" that was a collection of economists predicting … [Read more...] about Is Housing Still a Good Investment?
Last Updated Feb 8, 2011 12:16 PM EST If you're thinking of buying or selling a home with a high price tag, a pending change to federal mortgage regulations could make that proposition a bit more expensive -- and difficult -- come this fall. Starting in October, the maximum mortgage amount for loans in high-cost areas that are guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is scheduled to drop from its current limit of $729,500 to $625,500. Mortgages above that limit typically charge a half percentage point more in interest, so this means buyers and sellers at high price points could have a new headwind to contend with. There's a growing buzz among Washington stakeholders this week that the time is right to let this "conforming loan" limit drop as a first step in weaning the mortgage market from its outsize dependence on government support ever since the financial crisis began. In fact, get ready to hear plenty in the coming days and weeks about big sweeping plans to reform the mortgage … [Read more...] about New Mortgage Rules Could Make Homes Harder to Buy and Sell This Fall
Last Updated Aug 27, 2010 11:52 AM EDT The New York Times more or less pronounced the single family home dead as an asset this week. Data from the National Association of Realtors and, just this morning, from the Federal Home Financing Agency hammered some nails into the coffin. But come now, folks. Let's apply a little perspective: The pessimistic scenario isn't all that pessimistic One downbeat economist quoted by the Times predicted that housing will rise at the rate of inflation for the foreseeable future. The rate of inflation happens to be roughly the long-term return on residential real estate over the past century, according to Robert Shiller, the Yale economist and real estate historian. So the bubble of 2000 to 2006 was the anomaly, not the "grim" long-term future foreseen by the Times. (Speaking of anomalies, Shiller in this interview warns against over-reacting to the lousy housing numbers that came out this week since they were skewed by the expiration of Uncle Sam's … [Read more...] about Five Reasons to Stop Worrying About Your Home’s Value
With the home prices down 35 percent since their 2006 peak and mortgage interest rates at record lows, purchasing a home may be more affordable than ever for first-time buyers. It also may be time for some renters to consider buying a place of their own. Whatever the situation, here are some guidelines to keep in mind when deciding between renting and buying. When to buy or rent. Renters weighing whether buy a home should meet the following criteria: They should be committed to living in the same location for a few years, have a secure job and income, and have saved up enough money for a down payment. Home prices have improved in some regions, but are still declining in many others. Some prospective buyers are still anxious about the continuing fall in home prices and are jumping into home ownership too early. Also, buying a home before you are financially ready can put a strain on your finances. When housing costs exceed 35 percent of gross income, you'll have to make … [Read more...] about Why renters should consider buying a home
(MoneyWatch) How much money do you really need? While this question applies to most of us, it's an especially critical question for older Americans who have meager retirement resources and who'll need to make every dollar count, both before and during retirement. The magic formula for retirement securityThe secret formula that will make, or break, your retirementThe secret to a successful retirement One answer to the question of "how much is enough" comes from economists who use "utility theory" to measure your satisfaction or happiness with an item you bought against the amount of money you spent on the item. As the theory goes, if you have a significant, unmet need and you buy something that meets your basic needs, your happiness improves. But if you spend much more money to buy something that fulfills much more than your basic needs, your happiness doesn't typically improve by the same amount. We can see this concept at work by examining survey data regarding a purchase we're all … [Read more...] about A great way to stretch your retirement savings
Marilyn Lewis and Hiram Reisner contributed to this post Insurance, at its best, helps protect against events that could send your finances into a death spiral. Crucial products include insurance against serious car crashes, the loss of or damage to a home and the loss of income due to death or disability. Other products? Many offer little value, or they’re filled with exclusions and caveats. Following are some potentially dumb insurance buys: 1. Identity theft insurance Federal law limits your liability from credit card fraud, so even if a thief uses yours, you’re off the hook if you report theft promptly. Says the Federal Trade Commission: Your liability for unauthorized use of your credit card is limited to $50. If you report the loss to the credit card company before your credit card is used, you are not responsible for any unauthorized use. Most card companies go a step further and offer $0 fraud liability. Report an ATM card missing within two business … [Read more...] about 14 kinds of insurance that can waste your money
Television 2015 Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email Enlarge this image iStockphoto iStockphoto This is one in a series of essays running this week and next about the state of television in 2015. The series is based on developments at the recent Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., where broadcast and cable networks, along with streaming services like Netflix, presented new and existing shows to TV critics and reporters. It is a secret only intermittently discussed that the anointed Golden Age Of Television is also very often The Golden Age Of Nobody Knowing What The Frosted Flakes Is Going On, and one of the reasons for that is that nobody even knows for sure what it means to watch television anymore. Let's take a quick romp through an existential crisis on which we touched previously: What even is television? (If you said "a vast wasteland," you may be watching the television of many years ago and I'd like to borrow your time … [Read more...] about Television 2015: With 25 Ways To Watch TV, Does The House Always Win?