View more on these topics

Editor’s note: Fix the housing shortage and you’ll get my vote

By the time this magazine lands on your desk, we will be just one day away from the 8 June general election vote when the country decides which party should lead the way on many crucial policy decisions, most notably around Brexit.

I won’t be pinning my colours to the mast here but, whatever your political persuasion, I’m sure we are all united in wanting the issue of housing supply addressed for the benefit of all aspects of the market.

Various aspirational housebuilding totals are being promised in manifestos, with Labour suggesting it can provide one million new homes in five years.

While this figure may be difficult to achieve – given that the average number of houses built in recent years topped out at 150,000 per annum – it would provide a serious boost to the industry if it came to fruition and would go a long way towards fixing our ‘broken’ housing market.

I must agree with our regular contributor, Pad Bamford, who highlighted in his column last week that a cross-party approach was needed in order to devise a realistic plan for addressing the supply shortage, which has been rolling on for some time without an adequate solution.

Not only do we need a practical approach to delivering new homes but, with fewer high loan-to-value mortgages on the market since the end of the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee, the newly elected government would do well to focus on innovative schemes to support first-time buyers.

The need for help in getting on the first rung of the property ladder is particularly prevalent in the capital. While the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics found that average house prices in London had fallen by 1.5 per cent to £471,742, that figure is still more than 15 times the median salary of the capital’s workers. And with mortgage lenders offering a maximum of 5.5 times income, there’s a sizeable gap to make up.

Furthermore, the UK’s so-called ninth-biggest lender, the Bank of Mum and Dad, isn’t available to everyone.

It won’t be long before we know who will be steering the ship for the next few years but, whoever it is, here’s hoping we see some swift action on the housing front that will make a real difference to the market.


When will lenders get to grips with short-term lets?

As internet-fuelled short-term letting gains popularity, will lenders get on board with ‘Airbnb mortgages’ or risk having their rules broken by thousands of customers? The Airbnb revolution is upon us, but many brokers say mortgage lenders have yet to get to grips with the rising popularity of internet-fuelled short-term letting. In recent years, many banks […]


Retention proc fee wave fuelled by new funding rules: AMI

The widespread move by lenders to pay retention procuration fees is fuelled by a need to boost lending before 2018, according to the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries. AMI says the move is linked to the replacement of the Funding for Lending Scheme with the Term Funding Scheme next year. The FLS was brought in by […]


One to One: Julian Hartley, product director, Tesco Bank

Talking to as many partners as possible, building trust with brokers, plans for a proc fee that recognises their efforts – and admiration for a Swedish tennis legend As product director of savings, loans and mortgages at Tesco Bank, what is your favourite aspect of your job? Working with the many fantastic people in what […]

Apple: a stellar technology story

By Ali Unwin, head of technology sector research

Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up