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Let’s hope spring sees lending grow

Spring has arrived, bringing with it sunny mornings, longer days and gardens full of bright daffodils. The big question is – will it also bring the traditional increase in home sales?

This year, many interested parties will be watching the situation carefully.

These will include struggling home owners trying to sell and a government whose survival could depend on the feel-good factor, which is often based on how individuals feel about the housing market.

So what hopes are there for a recovery in 2009? On the positive side houses are cheaper than they have been for several years, mortgages are cheaper – perhaps more so than they have ever been – and consumers can borrow at an astonishing 2.3% if they have big enough deposits.

So it’s not surprising to see that mortgage approvals were up by 4% in January compared with the December figure. But despite all the government has done, the financial markets remain frozen.

There is still a lack of confidence among banks which is resulting in a lack of funds.

Those hoping to feel some economic warmth this spring will need to see significant increases in lending and LTVs if their dreams are to become reality.

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Johnson Fleming set to host webinar on auditing auto-enrolment schemes

With 23 auto-enrolment compliance notices issued by the Pensions Regulator, and an evolving legislative landscape meaning previously compliant schemes may now be in breach of regulation, now is the time to think about auditing your auto-enrolment scheme. Johnson Fleming is hosting a webinar on 9 October at 11:00 on how to audit your scheme to ensure compliance, avoid breaches and fines and overcome data issues.