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Latest News

March 2017

Glen Callow

22 Mar 2017

Home ownership at 30-year low

The percentage of people in England owning their own home has hit a 30-year low, says the Financial Times. In 2015-16 owners were 62.9 per cent of the population, the lowest since 1985. Over the same period the number renting has grown to account for almost 20 per cent, with 250,000 households joining the rental sector last year. Over the past ten years, the number of homes owned outright with no mortgage has risen by 1.3 million while the number owned with a mortgage has fallen by 1.7 million. The biggest drop in home ownership has been among those aged 35-44.
Glen Callow

21 Mar 2017

Challenge to equal divorce split rule

The latest divorce case to reach the High Court challenges the principle of an equal split of assets, says the Financial Times. The high-earning wife is seeking to overturn a High Court settlement and reduce the payment to her ex-husband from £2.74 million to £1.2 million, on the basis that she contributed far more to the couple's wealth. A key point is that the marriage lasted only four years and the wife is arguing that the principle of equal division may be fair for longer marriages but should not apply to short ones. Lawyers say a judgement in her favour could affect many divorce settlements in the future.
Glen Callow

20 Mar 2017

Learn to invest with Lisa

The only companies offering the new Lifetime ISA (or Lisa) at launch in April will be investment fund-based, says the Financial Times. The scheme, offering a government top-up of up to £1,000 a year (25 per cent of the amount saved annually) to those aged 18-39 when they start the plan, is designed to be used for a first-time house purchase and will replace the Help-to-Buy Isa next year. Investment funds are fine for long-term saving, but if the plan is to use Lisa for house purchase within the next few years, you should wait for deposit-based schemes to launch in coming months.
Glen Callow

19 Mar 2017

Thousands stumble towards pension tax traps

A year after a reduction in the lifetime pension allowance to £1 million, hundreds of thousands of people are stumbling towards hefty tax bills because they will exceed this limit without knowing it, says the Telegraph. The rules are mind-numbingly complex, but if the value of your pension fund tops £1 million you can pay tax on any excess at up to 55 per cent. The workers most at risk are in their 40s and 50s and are members of defined contribution (final salary) pension schemes, where increases in pension entitlements are valued at 20 times the increase in annual pension. There are steps you can take to avoid or mitigate the problem, but you will certainly need advice.
Glen Callow

18 Mar 2017

Time for a 10-year fix?

With the uncertainties of Brexit and Trump, and economic growth and inflation suggesting interest rate rises are ahead, it's time to consider switching to a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage, says the Telegraph. It says that three years ago, there were only eight 10-year fixed-rate mortgage offers in the market but today there are 124, with lenders competing fiercely, especially for those seeking to borrow under 60 per cent of their property's value. For them, 10-year fixes at 2.6 per cent to 2.7 per cent are readily available and offer security, albeit with large redemption penalties if you want to exit early.

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