LENDERS ARE now offering mortgages equal to six times salary to first-time buyers desperate to get a foot on the property ladder, as house prices soar out of reach, says the Daily Telegraph .
Halifax said yesterday the average price reached £194,400 last month, more than eight times average earnings of £23,600 a year, while the number of loans to first-time buyers dropped in February to its lowest level for two years, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
Ray Boulger, of the independent mortgage brokers John Charcol, said the maximum income multiple limits of three to three and a half times' salary were now "old hat".
Less than six months after Abbey changed its rules to allow buyers to borrow up to five times' salary, other banks and building societies will go further still, says the paper.
Boulger said Alliance & Leicester, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Northern Rock will lend up to six times salary, providing buyers meet "affordability criteria".
Nick Gardner, from Chase De Vere Mortgage Management, said: "We have done deals for more than six times' income with Alliance & Leicester, and very nearly that with Abbey and Intelligent Finance. Northern Rock will also lend 5.9 times' income."
MORLEY FUND Management said yesterday it would not immediately seek a replacement for Chris Phillips, its incoming chief executive, after the death of the respected asset manager last Wednesday, reports the Times.
Phillips’s death has left two of Britain’s leading fund managers leaderless – Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP), by which Phillips remained employed, has not found a new chief executive in the three months since he signalled his intention to leave.
Morley said yesterday its board “will be considering necessary next steps in due course” and it was too soon to think about how its top job may now be filled.
REPRESENTATIVES OF leading hedge funds are to meet deputy finance ministers from the G7 advanced industrial nations this weekend to discuss ways to increase the transparency of the secretive industry, reports the Financial Times.
The talks, involving about 20 hedge fund representatives, will focus on what a future surveillance regime could look like and mark the first concrete follow-up to the G7's decision in February to start work on improving the transparency of the opaque and loosely regulated sector.
Following an initiative by Peer Steinbrück, German finance minister, the G7 finance ministers told their deputies to start consultations with the industry before this year's G8 summit in Heiligendamm, on Germany's Baltic Sea coast.
"Because of the nature of international capital markets, we need to get the industry on board," a German government official said yesterday. "If we do not, they will always find a way to circumvent whatever rules and surveillance systems governments agree on. Injunctions and prohibitions are no use in this context."
BANKERS AT Citigroup are on tenterhooks today as they await details of a restructuring which could involve the loss or relocation of as many as 26,000 jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, says the Guardian.
Chuck Prince, Citigroup's chief executive, will announce the changes in an attempt to fend off criticism over a weak share price and questions over the US bank's sprawling business model.
Analysts believe 10,000 to 15,000 jobs could be lost and thousands more shifted from expensive financial centres such as New York and London to smaller cities and developing countries.
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