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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

As part of this week's roundup, we bring news of UK retail sales growth experiencing its poorest November since 2011, an easing of house price growth in the same month, suggestions that some banks and building societies are offering savers rates as low as 0.01%, and urges for people affected by flooding to take action for insurance purposes.


November retail sales growth 'slowest since 2011'

Last month saw the slowest UK retail sales growth for any November since 2011, new figures have shown. According to the research from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG, the total value of retail sales between November 1st and November 28th was just 0.7% higher than during the same period a year earlier, and represented a slowdown from the 0.9% growth recorded for the previous month.

Despite the hype surrounding Black Friday - a day of sales promotions adopted by British retailers from US retailers in recent years - the figures suggested the discounts fell somewhat flat, with like-for-like sales in November 2015 falling 0.4% compared to November 2014.   

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail at KPMG, said: "There was a minimal loosening of the family purse strings compared to last year and retailers, facing significant cost increases next year, will be striving to wean shoppers off the discounting drug." 

Halifax: UK house price growth eased last month

UK house price growth eased last month, new figures from Halifax have revealed. It was shown that although property prices climbed at an annual rate of 9% in November, this was lower than the rate of 9.7% recorded in the previous month.

The findings showed that the average house price now stands at £204,552, with costs in November dipping 0.2% in comparison with October, while quarterly growth dropped to its lowest for the best part of a year.

Despite this, Halifax said it expects strong price rises in the future due to a continuing imbalance between supply and demand. Martin Ellis, Housing Economist at Halifax, commented: "Solid economic growth, rising real earnings and falls in already very low mortgage rates have combined to stimulate housing demand this year." 

Savers 'being offered returns as low as 0.01%'

Returns as low as 0.01% are being offered to savers by a number of UK banks and building societies. This is according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which has named the organisations as part of its review of the savings market.

According to the regulator, Danske Bank, Progressive Building Society and Ulster Bank are among those offering returns on cash savings accounts of 0.01%, while HSBC, First Trust Bank and First Direct are among those offering 0.05%.

The FCA explained, however, that the organisations also provide other accounts with better returns, and therefore encouraged savers to research which deals would be best suited to them. 

Flood residents urged to take insurance actions

People effected by flooding caused by heavy rain across the country have been urged to take action for insurance purposes. Many people have been forced to evacuate their homes, or have been left without power, over recent days after their properties were hit by Storm Desmond, and insurers have recommended they do all they can to minimise further loss.

Residents in effected areas have been instructed to stay safe, first and foremost, but to also ensure any unattended homes are properly locked up and any evidence of damage is kept.

James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the Association of British Insurers, said: "Flooding brings misery to homeowners and businesses, which is why insurers are pulling out all the stops to help their customers recover as soon as possible."