Mortgage sales hit problemsWritten by Richard Green
The housing market has been buoyant over past few years, but mortgage providers and first-time buyers are both now facing a tough time. Following announcements from Bank of England that there has been an overall decline in total number of UK home-buyers, and a declaration from Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) that number of disputes concerning mis-sold mortgage endowments has now hit record levels, it seems that mortgage lenders are facing a bleak time. Add to this results of a new survey, by Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre, which shows potential first-time buyers fear that they may never get onto property market, and you start to see a worrying picture of housing market emerge.
The problem with mis-selling of endowment mortgage products has recently made headlines in world of personal finance. The FOS admitted receiving 70,000 new complaints about endowment mortgages, equivalent of 1,300 a week, compared to just 300 a week three years ago.
The main grounds for complaint revolve around people who believe that mis-selling had occurred regarding policies. Many consumers feel that endowment product sold to them was unsuitable either because it would lead to financial short-falls, or because level of risk involved had not been adequately explained to them prior to policy commencing.
The sheer scale and number of complaints has lead to changes in regulations and imposition of deadlines for lodging complaints.
"The number [of complaints] we can expect to receive in current year will largely be determined by how financial services firms meet new regulatory requirements on so-called re-projection letters. Most of these letters will warn of likely mortgage shortfalls and many will give, for first time, an explicit deadline by which any complaint must be lodged.", Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman. The situation is no better for first-time buyers either. Forming a significantly important sector of house buying market, a recently published study from GMAC, financial subsidiary of General Motors, carried out by Professor David Miles, who was originally commissioned to investigate mortgage market by Chancellor Gordon Brown, has found that dramatically fewer first-time buyers than ever before are currently entering into housing market. A report from mortgage lender, Abbey, highlighted that main concern for first-time buyers is not a lack of desire to buy their own house, but rather a fear over whether they feel they can afford to do so. Just over a third of potential first-time buyers in survey, indicated that they wanted to buy a home within next year, however only 5% were confident that they would actually be able to.
Smart Art Investments - More Than Just a Pretty Picture!Written by Sian Whitehall
There was a time when I would have never considered buying original artworks for my home let alone for investment. To expensive! To complicated! When it comes to collecting art most people feel inadequate or intimidated. I thought art collecting meant having specialised knowledge and spending a great deal of money on world famous artists. Isn’t art just for people with lots of money? It's true that people of wealth do invest in art. It's one way they increase their wealth. But fortunately you don't have to start off wealthy to enjoy art or make money from it. You don't have to be an expert on art to collect art. Anyone can become a successful art collector. Like me, you most likely already have some type of art hanging on your walls. You may have choosen your art because it suits your décor or you just liked look of it. The painting you have may even have been expensive. But wouldn’t it be great if just hanging art on your wall offered more than just a pretty picture. It makes a lot more sense to buy originals to invest in that could possibly become very valuable some day. Even modest investments in art can be very profitable. Rule number one is you don't always have to spend a lot to get a lot. A lot of beautiful art is very affordable. Australia has some very impressive, well respected and profitable artists. Australian art is becoming ever increasingly popular on an international scale. Starting with a purchase of a known Australian artist that is already making profits on second hard market is a wise choice. If you feel unsure about investing in a certain work of art, do some research about artist. Most artists and online galleries with provide you with some background information which as a collector you will want to preserve along with your artwork purchase.