Sterling has fallen back below $1.70 after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney sounded a more dovish tone on base rate rises.

Speaking to the Treasury Select Committee this morning, 12 days after saying the base rate could rise "sooner than markets currently expect", Carney said stronger growth may well be offset by the fact there remains spare capacity in the UK economy. That sent sterling down from $1.702 to $1.697, the pound having risen above $1.70 earlier this month as markets began pricing in a 2014 rate hike following Carney's Mansion House speech. Carney said this morning that recent wage data suggests spare capacity remains a read more

Scottish housing recovery stronger than North of England

The housing recovery in Scotland is now stronger than in the North of England, the latest LSL Acadametrics data has shown. Scottish house prices are only 2.4% below their April 2008 peak, compared to 8.1% in the North of England. Average prices in Scotland rose £6,435 in a year – the highest annual rise since October 2010. In Aberdeen City prices set a new record, having risen 17.1% over the last 12 months. Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, part of LSL Property Services, comments: "For read more

Unfair for brokers to blame ‘slowlicitors’ – Broker Conveyancing

Harpal Singh I've never really been interested in playing ‘the blame game' when it comes to determining who might be responsible for delays in the property purchasing process. Ultimately there is generally a combination of factors that all go to contribute towards the timescale for exchange and completion being lengthier than we would like. However, this doesn't appear to stop some in the industry attempting to lay the blame at the door of, quite frankly, anyone who isn't them. Further reading Stamp read more

FCA promises tough action as it takes control of consumer credit

The Financial Conduct Authority has taken control of the consumer credit industry from today promising tough rules for short-term high-cost credit firms and debt management companies. In its 2014 risk outlook, published yesterday, the regulator said its plans to enforce a price cap on payday loans may affect some firms' appetite to remain in the sector if profits are damaged. Further reading Repossessed often architects of own destruction not victims - FCA Speaking on Radio 5 live this read more

First-time buyer house prices hit record high

The average house purchased by a first-time buyer is now more expensive than ever with prices rising £5,000 in the last month alone. Figures from LSL found the average purchase price in January 2014 was £155,832, up on the £150,875 figure recorded in the previous month and 16.4% higher than the same point last year. Despite the government's Help to Buy scheme aiming to help borrowers with small deposits onto the housing ladder the average loan-to-value also rose in the same period, reaching 82.3% in the first read more