Paula John: Market News

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The Independent Online

GOING UP...

The value of farmland continues to grow – a 10 per cent rise in the second quarter of the year has brought the annual increase to 38 per cent, according to figures from Knight Frank. Apparently, increased demand for farmland has been spurred by higher food prices. But it's not all coming up roses in the country: the estate agent reports that the price of the average country cottage decreased by 5.7 per cent in the second quarter. It says that the drop reflects the falling fortunes of townies who can no longer afford a country bolt-hole.

GOING DOWN...

Mortgage lending figures have fallen off a cliff. The Council of Mortgage Lenders reveals that total lending in June reached just £23.8bn, a third down on June 2007. That was only three per cent lower than the figure for May, but at this time of year market activity should be picking up, not slowing down. The CML blames the depressed market on the funding shortages that have led to a mortgage drought, and fading consumer demand. It warns that conditions are unlikely to improve this year, even though some lenders have started cutting the cost of their fixed rates.

GO FIGURE... 500m

The amount, in pounds, landlords could be fined in total with the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for the private rental sector. EPCs already form the major part of the controversial Home Information Packs that property sellers must supply to prospective buyers; from this October it will be illegal for buy-to-let investors to rent out a property without providing an EPC. Offending landlords will be fined £200 per property. With 11.6 per cent of the country's property consisting of private rental the total bill could be over half a billion pounds.

Paula John is editor-in-chief of 'Your Mortgage'

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