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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

In our roundup this week, we ponder whether the Bank of England could be about to cut interest rates in a bid to prevent Britain falling into recession post-Brexit, and bring news of a new deadline proposed for loan mis-selling claims, new figures suggesting fewer people are buying homes in major cities and a profits tumble for a high-profile London estate agency.


Bank of England to cut interest rates?

Speculation is rife that the Bank of England could be about to cut interest rates in an effort to prevent Britain falling into recession following its decision to leave the European Union in the recent referendum. If it happens, it will be the first time that the BoE has cut rates since 2009.

A poll conducted by Reuters found that many economists anticipate at least a quarter percentage point reduction to 0.25%, while almost half of those polled expect the BoE to return to a quantitative easing bond purchase programme that was put on hold in late 2012.

Talk of an interest rates cut has intensified since manufacturing figures released on Monday pointed to the most widespread downturn in three years, and Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at BoE, has been quoted as saying he wants to use "a sledgehammer to crack a nut" to solve the situation. 

2019 deadline proposed for loan insurance mis-selling

The Financial Conduct Authority has proposed a deadline, set at the end of June 2019, for consumers to make a claim if they believe they have been mis-sold loan insurance. The financial regulator's consultation on the matter closes on October 11, and is welcoming feedback on the proposal before this date.

The FCA is hoping the rule for setting the deadline will come into effect by mid-2017 and is planning to run a public awareness campaign to ensure all potential claimants are aware of the cut-off point.

Banks have paid out around £24 billion in compensation for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) over the past five years and Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the FCA, said: "Putting a deadline on PPI complaints will bring the issue to an orderly conclusion in a way that protects both consumers and market integrity." 

Major cities see home ownership dip

Home ownership in major cities across England has reduced significantly since the early 2000s, new findings have shown. According to the Resolution Foundation, the most marked falls have occurred in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, the metropolitan area of the West Midlands and outer London.

In Greater Manchester alone, the proportion of home owners has tumbled to 58% this year from the 72% recorded in April 2003.

Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, Chief Economist of the Resolution Foundation Matthew Whittaker said: "What we particularly have seen since 2002-03 is that incomes simply haven't kept pace with house prices, so it's not just that house prices have gone up." 

Foxtons estate agency announces profits plunge

High-profile London estate agency Foxtons has reported a 42% profits tumble for the first half of the year. The agency, which announced a £10.5 million pre-tax profit in the first six months of this year compared to £18.1 million a year earlier, cited uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum as the main reason for the fall.

It was noted that there was a sharp contraction in the London property market in the second quarter of the year. The share price of Foxton's fell by 8% in early trading last Friday.