Highest rise in house sales for 16 months At the Conservative party’s annual conference, held in early October, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, promised an acceleration in house building. He advocated that his “national crusade” was to build more houses, particularly more affordable homes for first-time buyers. A timely speech indeed, as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), has announced that September saw the highest rise in house sales for 16 months. This was also the fifth month in a row that house sales have increased, as 14% more surveyors saw a rise in sales. This rise in sales was attributed to a modest improvement in the availability of mortgage finance and an upturn in demand, with 18% of Rics members recording such an increase. The highest rise in sales was recorded in the North, East Anglia, and Scotland, whilst the East Midlands was the only region to register a fall in sales, reversing the trend set here in August. However, the caveat to this good news was the fact that there remains a dramatic shortage of properties available on the market. The Rics members reported that the average stock of homes held for sale was only 47, this is the smallest number ever recorded. To put that into perspective, in the South East, Rics members only held an average of 25 properties for sale, again a record low figure. Some housing groups across the UK have questioned that such a policy, concentrating on starter and “affordable homes”, would actually reduce the number of affordable homes currently available for rent. Commenting on their latest findings, and tempering expectations, Simon Rubinsohn, the Chief Executive of Rics said: “It is hard not to see prices continuing to move higher over the coming months, and into the early part of 2016, notwithstanding the present concerns regarding the affordability of housing in some areas of the UK”.

Markets – September (Data supplied by The Outsourced Marketing Department) On the global equity markets, September followed the trend of August, with enhanced geo-political issues taking centre stage. Middle Eastern unrest in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond, together with continued worry over the Chinese economy and steel closures at home spooked the markets somewhat. Here in the UK the FTSE100 was volatile, as it gyrated 5.5% throughout the month. It recorded 11 trading days showing losses and 11 days reversing some of those. Overall, it lost 2.89% to close at 6,061.9, having recovered from a month’s low of 5,909.2. The wider FTSE250 fared much the same, closing at 16,683.0 for a loss of 2.49%. Losing 1.31%, the junior AIM market finished at 725.3. Across the pond, the Dow Jones Index also lost ground to 16,284.7 to record a 1.47% loss, whilst the technology based NASDAQ slipped by 3.27% to 4,620.16. Fears of a rise in interest rates from the Federal Reserve diminished a little in September, tempering the market unrest. European markets were not immune, as the Eurostoxx50 ended the month on 3,100.67, to record a loss of 5.49% for the month. The Japanese Nikkei225 index continued to fall, losing another 7.95% to close at 17,388.15. This represents a fall of 14.1% over the last quarter.

On the foreign exchanges, Sterling remained out of favour, sliding 1.31% against the US Dollar to $1.51 and a marginal 0.74% against the Euro to €1.35. The Euro currency itself slipped a little against the greenback to $1.11, a 1.77% fall.

Gold lost its appeal, seeing a fall of 2.46% to close at $1,113.41 and recording a quarterly fall of 5%.

Oil, as measured by the Brent Crude 2 benchmark, lost the small gains it made last 1 month, finishing September at $48.76 a barrel, down 7.34% for the month and a more serious 0 23.4% drop in the last quarter.

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