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An unexpected rebound in French and German growth helped push the eurozone to the brink of economic recovery in the second quarter, delivering a further signal that the worst of the global crisis may be coming to an end in Europe.

Gross domestic product in the 16-nation currency bloc fell 0.1 per cent in April, May and June, the European statistics office said on Thursday, cheering economists who had expected a decline of 0.5 per cent after a drop of 2.5 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

Source:  FT.com

The UK housing market showed further signs of stabilising during June with a 23 per cent jump in the number of mortgages taken out by people buying a home, figures revealed today.

Around 45,000 mortgages were advanced for house purchase during the month, the fifth consecutive monthly increase and the highest level for a year, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said.

There was also a steep rise in the number of first-time buyers getting on to the property ladder, with 17,200 mortgages taken out by people buying their first home, 26 per cent more than during May.

The RICS survey showed a continuing rise in interest from potential buyers, with new inquiries increasing for the ninth month in a row during July.

The Bank of England’s rate-setters have decided to pump another £50bn of new money into the economy in their programme of quantitative easing.

It will take their total spending to £175bn, unexpectedly going over the £150bn set aside by the chancellor.

In a statement, they said that the UK recession “appears to have been deeper than previously thought”.

The rate-setters also decided to keep interest rates unchanged at their historic low of 0.5% for a sixth month.

Also on Thursday, the European Central Bank decided to keep its interest rates unchanged at 1%.

This is an excellent interview with a cunning buy to let investor, his main points being:

– Buy-to-let is a viable option if done correctly
– The ability to obtain finance is crucial
– You have to take a 10 year view on your investment, buy-to-let is not about flipping properties!
– Avoid illusionary discounted deals on new developments

Ta dah!

Hackney Council has designated a new conservation area along Hackney Road.

Following consultation with residents, the council designated the conservation area to protect the area’s special architectural and historic interest.

Hackney Road

Hackney Road

Primelocation.com – Market Report

In the Prime London market there was an insignificant increase (0.33%) in asking prices, but a significant reduction in stock levels, down 1.43% in June, or -2.53% in the Central London area.

Prime London lettings stock increased, leaving them an astonishing 96% higher than a year ago, resulting in a 15th successive fall in average rent.

Source: Rat & Mouse

An end to the recession is now “in sight”, after the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) said that “a clear picture” was beginning to emerge of the likely extent of the economy’s troubles.

For the first time in more than two years, the institute has not lowered its quarterly forecast for Ireland’s economic prospects for the year ahead.

It now expects the Irish economy to shrink by 8.9 per cent in terms of its gross national product (GNP) this year, which is a slightly more modest contraction than it expected at the time of its previous forecast in April.

ESRI economist Alan Barrett, one of the authors of the report, said the stability of its forecasts, after a succession of regular and often sharp downward revisions, was “in itself a noteworthy factor”.

Read more: Irish Times Business

– Central London rents have stabilised, with marginal falls of 1.0 per cent in Q2 2009, compared to considerable falls in the previous two quarters (-6.2 per cent and -6.1 per cent respectively).
– Annually, rents are down -14.1 per cent and have fallen -14.5 per cent from peak values.
– Some of the excess supply in the rental market is dissipating as the sales market improves.
– Landlords have become more confident following improvement in the economic outlook – they are now less willing to accept large discounts on rent.

Source: Cluttons Summer Rental Report

Yesterday David Miles – author of a Government-commissioned report on the mortgage market in 2004 and a new member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee – said that “expectations are crucial in the housing market and they look a bit better now than a few months ago … My hunch – and I put it no stronger than that – is that we have seen most of the overall aggregate house price falls.”

The Bank, meanwhile, said that the availability of mortgage credit was expected to rise over the next few months. Earlier this week the Nationwide Building Society’s house price index registered a 0.9 per cent rise in prices during May – three out of the last four months’ figures have shown an increase; the Halifax and other indices agree.

Source: The Independent