Britain's housing market has continued to cool during August, figures revealed today show, with prices in London falling for the first time in a year, The Independent reports.
Rightmove, the property website, said the average cost of a home in England and Wales - its figures exclude Scotland and Northern Ireland - has risen by just 0.6 per cent to £241,474 over the past month, though the annual housing market inflation rate is still running at 12.6%.
However, the average figure obscured a dip of 0.1% in house prices in London over the past month, Rightmove said. Prices also fell by 2.2% in the West Midlands and by 0.6% in the north of England.
SPARE A THOUGHT for Ben Bernanke. The chairman of the US Federal Reserve has been left to clear up the mess left by his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, and one heck of a mess it is too, according to The Guardian.
Wall Street loved Greenspan and with good reason, the paper says. Every time the market ran into trouble, he would ride to the rescue with a cut in interest rates. Like a spoiled child, Wall Street came to believe it could get away with any amount of bad behaviour without being punished. The indulgence shown by the Fed became known as the Greenspan "put" - as in a put option which allows an investor to sell shares at an advantageous price even when they have fallen below it. It was belief that the "put" lived on with Bernanke that brought about last week's turmoil. Rarely has there been a crisis easier to predict, yet speculators continued to take high-risk bets even as the warnings piled up.
SIR RICHARD BRANSON and the Virgin Group have put aside years of hostility towards public markets to adopt a new investment strategy that embraces the world’s stock markets, The Times reports.
The group, which had revenues of £10bn last year, plans to operate like a private equity firm and sell the businesses it owns via the stock market. In an exclusive interview with The Times, Stephen Murphy, Virgin’s chief executive and head of the group’s powerful investment committee, said: "We think of our peer group now being people like Apax and Blackstone.”
While planning to float its businesses, Virgin will retain a stake in them and keep directors on their boards in order to protect the brand.
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