ED’S TITBITS: Movements in the world of your money
ZERO EQUALS £240m: People switching balances to zero per cent interest rate credit cards are being charged up to 3% of the balance transferred – £150 on a £5,000 debt, for example. These fees became popular with the card companies last year as the Office of Fair Trading cracked down on penalty fees. Banks made £240m last year on the fees.
HOUSE PRICES STALL: Five interest rate rises in the last 12 months have put the brakes on house prices, according to property website Hometrack. It reported prices rose by 0.1% in July, bringing annual growth down from 6.4% in June to 5.9%. Richard Donnell at Hometrack said: “We expect demand to remain weak over the second half of the year as the impact of higher rates continues to impact on the market.”
HSBC HITS BIG PROFITS (AGAIN): HSBC, the UK’s biggest bank, saw half-year profits rise to £6.97bn, powered by good results in Asia, and the company shrugging off worries in the US sub-prime mortgage sector. “The profits make its projected £116m cost of refunding wrongly applied bank charges pale into insignificance,” said customer Rachel Bell. “I’m looking forward to my money soon.”
BEWARE THE CON: Some old people struggling to afford to stay in their homes are signing up to ‘sale and rent’ firms that purchase their properties for below-market prices then rent them back to the seller with limited tenancies. Once these have expired, the residents are then evicted. The firms are often run by buy to let landlords. “They’re absolute rotters,” said one reputable equity release lender. “Always go with a member of Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP) if you intend to release equity from your home.”