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Market Commentary - October 2000

Are you well enough endowed?

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) have decided that they are not going to order a full-scale review of all endowment mortgages. They confirm that some mortgages were mis-sold - and indeed say that some providers are still not giving suitable advice. They have published a factsheet ( to help endowment holders understand what they should do next. If you have an endowment policy, this is required reading!

Basically, you have a valid complaint if you were not given suitable advice when you bought an endowment mortgage. However - you won't get compensation unless you actually lost out financially as a result. It is quite possible that you were mis-sold an endowment mortgage but, by luck rather than judgement, are actually better off than if you'rd taken out a different sort of mortgage. Conversely if you bought an endowment policy after receiving correct advice and with a full appreciation of the risks, you would not be entitled to any compensation even if there is a substantial shortfall in the policy.

You have an endowment mortgage and you're still confused? Print off and read the FSA factsheet. Have a cup of tea and then read it again. Prepare for a long, drawn-out saga

If you don't have an endowment mortgage and are wondering what the fuss is about - just forget it. It's dull, complicated and not relevant to you. Find something better to do than worry about other people's mortgages.

House Prices

No longer interesting enough for dinner parties. The Halifax recently issued their house price report for September. They saw properties rise by an average of 1.6% in the month - giving an annual rise of 9.2% This contrasts with figures from the Nationwide Building Society with saw prices rise 0.4% in the month with an annual rate of 10.2%. The difference between the 2 sets of figures is probably related to the geographic bias of the 2 companies. The Natiowide is more focussed in the south - where property prices boomed at the turn of the year, but have been slower since then. The Halifax, with is slightly more northern bias, saw prices rise more slowly over the year - but they are catching up now. (I didn't expect my column last month to have such an immediate effect!).

Does this tell us anything? Well, it seems to show that property prices are once again back in the real world, subject to the same dull economic factors as cars, carpets and cans of baked beans. You'll need to find something more interesting to talk about at dinner your endowment mortgage for example.


Disclaimer: As usual, all the above is purely my opinion, and could be complete rubbish.

Back issues

September 2000's The Market including house price trends
June 2000's The Market including the stamp duty changes
November 1999's The Market including sellers packs
September 1999's The Market including buy-to-rent
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