Paula John: Market news

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The Independent Online

Going down...

Expectations of house-price growth. According to Nationwide's Consumer Confidence report for December, we now anticipate average property price inflation of just 0.7 per cent over the six months to June. That's a drop from the 1.2 per cent in November – and it's probably not surprising, given the widespread speculation about a potential downturn in the housing market. But don't sell the house just yet. The Bank of England is highly likely to cut interest rates next month, and again later in the year, which could well shore up property values. And remember the UK housing market is one which repeatedly defies expectation.

Going up...

Savvy female landlords. A new survey reveals that 41 per cent of buy-to-let investors are women. The Alliance & Leicester study shows that women are more cautious than men when it comes to property investment, and more likely to be in it for the long-term. Half of female landlords say they invested specifically to build up assets for their retirement, compared to 40 per cent of male landlords. Only 13 per cent of women invested in order to get an income today, compared with 21 per cent of men. In the current market, such long-term commitment makes sense.

Go figure...£105m

The Bank of England's failure to cut the base rate from 5.5 per cent to 5.25 per cent last week will cost mortgage borrowers on variable-rate deals a total of £105m, according to mortgage broker John Charcol. But does this concern people? Research by Intelligent Finance claims that single homeowners care less about interest-rate changes than married and co-habiting people. It reports that 54 per cent of singletons said they wouldn't take any notice of the bank's decision in January, compared to the 28 per cent who are married or co-habiting. Does this mean the unattached are less financially aware than couples, given that a 0.25 percentage point drop in the bank base rate knocks £15 a month off the cost of a typical £100,000 mortgage?

Paula John is editor-in-chief of Your Mortgage