House price cynics

Home buyers are sceptical about claims that house prices will rise by 7 per cent as the pundits predict, according to research by FirstMortgage, a home loan company. Home buyers forecast an average price increase this year of 2 per cent.

Barclays has produced a free booklet, A Guide for People with Savings, aimed at helping people reclaim tax they may have wrongly paid. More than 6 million savers could have paid pounds 500m in excess tax, the bank estimates.

The 1997 edition of Pepguide has just been published by Chase de Vere Investments. It costs pounds 12.95 but the price is refunded if you buy a PEP through Chase de Vere. Ring 0800 526092.

Want to know how your unit trust has performed over one and five years against similar trusts and the stock market? Johnson Fry has produced free league tables. Ring 0171 451 1236.

Abbey National is increasing its savings rates by up to 0.3 per cent from this week. Its tax-free Tessa account now pays up to 6.7 per cent but on Instant Saver, its basic instant access saving account, rates only go up for those with pounds 10,000 or more.

2 Investment trusts offer "enticing value" as discounts have continued to widen, says NatWest Securities. On average you can now buy trust shares at a discount of more than 10 per cent to the value of their underlying investments.