Aldermore looks back at the key developments of the last twelve months for homeowners, savers and SMEs.
As the below Twitter comment from last year’s Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association Great Mortgage Debate illustrates, there was little confidence of a housing market recovery in September 2013. In spite of this prediction, the UK has seen housing prices rise 11.7 per cent in a year with even more rapid growth in the capital, where the average property price has now surpassed the £500,000 landmark. The Help to Buy scheme has helped to play a part in reigniting demand, particularly helping first time buyers and those looking to move up the property ladder purchase affordable homes.
Boosting housing supply represents another key challenge for whichever party is elected in 2015. Despite a government target to produce 240,000 new homes per year between 2007 and 2016, a recent report from consultancy BDO suggests house builders fear this target will not be met, particularly since 2013 recorded just 109,370 house completions. p>
The March budget provided some welcome news for savers, with George Osborne announcing an increase on the tax-free savings allowance to £15,000, with the option to combine savings in the form of cash or stocks and shares, and transfer savings between the two. The introduction of new ‘Nisa’ savings accounts did result in a monthly rise in deposits to £4.9 billion in July, up from £3.9 billion in April.
The signs of change were already beginning to surface in the SME market in autumn 2013, with the Federation of Small Businesses reporting a confidence index of +33.5: a record at the time compared to a 2013 Q2 figure of +15.9. This upward trend has continued in 2014, setting a new high of +41 in Q3 2014, with 61 per cent of small firms now looking to grow in the next 12 months, up from 54.2 per cent a year ago.
Several persistent issues remain though, with skills shortages and restricted access to finance limiting SMEs’ ability to invest in growth.
Aldermore will be attending each of this season’s three main political conferences to report on how the parties hope to bring forth a stronger economy and a brighter future for Britain’s homeowners, savers and SMEs. Follow the Bank on Twitter for the latest news from the events.
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