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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

This week the upcoming EU referendum continues to dominate the headlines. We also bring news of a global stocks rally, a slowdown in house prices and a warning to British first-time buyers.  

Remain campaign 'narrowly ahead' 

Two new polls published yesterday suggest that Britons favour remaining in the European Union, although the lead for the 'Remain' camp is only very slight.  

According to both an online YouGov survey published by The Times, and an ORB telephone poll for The Daily Telegraph, support for remaining in the EU is currently one point ahead. 

However, it is believed that support for the 'Leave' vote is starting to pick up when the polls take into account the likelihood to vote. 

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, political strategist Lynton Crosby, said: "The clear trend over the course of ORB’s polls for the Daily Telegraph shows that the Leave campaign has a turnout advantage over the Remain campaign." 

The referendum will take place on Thursday 23rd June.  

Stocks rally following US interest rates speech 

Global stocks rallied significantly yesterday after Janet Yellen, chair of the US Federal Reserve, dampened rumours that interest rates in the US are set to increase in the next month or two.  

In a speech at Harvard University at the end of May, Yellen mentioned that the Federal Reserve would hike rates "in the coming months", but in her latest speech backed away from that promise. She did admit that rates will increase in the future, but failed to state when.  

She was also largely upbeat about the US economic outlook, saying "I see good reasons to expect that the positive forces supporting employment growth and higher inflation will continue to outweigh the negative ones." 

At the end of her speech, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading 136 points higher at 17,943, while Bloomberg stated the MSCI All Country World Index was set for its strongest close since April.  

House price growth 'to slow' this year 

The rate at which house prices increase is set to slow down over the coming months, according to a new report from Halifax.  

Halifax, the UK's largest mortgage lender, said that house prices rose by 0.6% in May, with the average house price now standing at £213,472. Prices across March, April and May were 1.4% higher than in the previous quarter.  

However, Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, suggested that house price growth is set to slow as a result of "affordability issues caused by a sustained period of higher-than-earnings house price growth".  

40-year mortgage warning to first-time buyers 

Prospective first-time home buyers in the UK have been warned that they could be set to pay tens of thousands of pounds more in interest by signing up for a 40-year mortgage. 

According to the BBC, longer-term mortgages are now more popular than ever, allowing buyers the chance to make smaller monthly repayments. Some 60% of first-time buyers now borrow for longer than the traditional 25-year period.  

However, David Hollingworth, from London and Country Mortgages, explained that buyers in this scenario must pay the same rate of interest for an extra 15 years, if they choose a 40-year mortgage over a 25-year loan. This could lead to additional interest payments worth many tens of thousands of pounds. 

"It's a real danger," he said. "They need to understand that they are going to pay thousands more in interest over the life of the mortgage."