September 2009

The Return of the 90% Mortgage

HSBC is making £500m available to homebuyers who have 10% deposits.

Martijn van der Heijden, head of mortgages at HSBC, said the housing crash seemed to be over and prices were recovering.

“It is a different picture today – houses prices seem to have bottomed and rates are low – and many of those who put off their purchase last year are starting to look around again,” he said.

Figures released today by the Bank of England showed that mortgage lending continued to improve last month.

Works Commence on Crossrail

Preliminary works have commenced on Crossrail and are continuing during 2009. Main construction will start in 2010.

Crossrail is the new high frequency, convenient and accessible railway for London and the South East. From 2017 Crossrail will travel from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east via new twin tunnels under central London. It will link Heathrow Airport, the West End, the City of London, Whitechapel and Canary Wharf.

Crossrail will make traveling in the region easier and quicker. It will reduce crowding on London’s transport network. It will operate with main line size trains, carrying more than 1500 passengers in each train during peak periods.

Crossrail will deliver substantial economic benefits in London, the South-East and across the UK. The estimated benefit of Crossrail to the UK economy is at least £36 billion (TfL figures, May 2006).

Crossrail Train

Crossrail Train

East London Line Nearing Completion

The new East London Line is scheduled for completion in May 2010 and will form part of the London Overground network.  Passengers will be able to use their Oyster Cards to access the network. Trains are expected to run every 3-5 minutes during peak hours.

The main structures of the bridges over Brick Lane, Shoreditch High Street and the Regent’s Canal are now in place, and well as the intervening viaduct and the approach viaduct which links up with the elevated Victorian brick viaduct.  The building of the stations all along the route is clearly in progress and is nearing completion.

The line runs through the heart of Hackney linking Whitechapel (Circle, District, Hammersmith, City and Crossrail), Brick Lane and Dalston Junction. The line will terminate at Highbury & Islington (completion 2011) where passengers will be able to interchange with the Victoria Line.

The new ELL bridge spanning Shoreditch High Street

The impressive new ELL bridge spanning Shoreditch High Street

The new ELL bridge spanning the Regents Canal

The new ELL bridge spanning the Regent's Canal

UK inflation slows to 1.6% – BoE expected to keep interest rates at 0.5% well into 2010

Falling prices for a wide range of goods from electricity to fruit, bread and cereals, pushed consumer prices downward in August from July, although by a smaller amount than most economists expected, providing more evidence of the resilience of UK inflation.

Meanwhile, a broader measure of inflation which includes mortgage interest payments, shows prices falling outright.

The Office for National Statistics said that Consumer Price Inflation rose by 1.6 per cent in the year through to August, below the 1.8 per cent rate in the 12 months through July and below the 2 per cent medium target set by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee.

The Monetary Policy Committee had cited its expectation that inflation would continue to fall in the months ahead when it agreed to increase its purchases of government gilts, known as Quantitative Easing, by £50bn at its meeting in August.

Indeed, Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “Despite coming in higher than expected, the August inflation data do not fundamentally alter belief that the Bank of England will keep interest rates down at 0.50 per cent well into 2010. The bank could also still further extend its QE programme if bank lending fails to pick up appreciably. “