The best way to buy and finance a car in 2017

If your car is old, always breaking down or simply becoming a bit of an embarrassment, you’re probably thinking about replacing it. But buying a new or used car can seem like a daunting prospect: do you ask the bank for a loan, go with one of the finance companies’ options or sign up to a lease deal? What will cost you the least money each month, saving your budget for all your other expenses, or are you more concerned about what the deal will cost you in total over the long term? New car or preloved car? While buying a spanking new motor might seem like the best option – lower running costs, fewer breakdowns and the cachet of driving the latest model – it’s worth remembering that the average new car will lose almost 50 per cent of its sale value over the first three years that you drive it. That’s just the average depreciation; many cars lose their value much faster than that with makes like Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat losing up to two thirds of their value over those three


UK Housing Market Forecast for 2017

House price rises slowed significantly during 2016 and experts are warning that this sluggish growth is likely to continue this year with uncertainty about Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Meanwhile, changes to stamp duty in 2015 are continuing to have an impact on the very highest end of the property market where the cost of buying a home has increased dramatically.  Furthermore, higher rate duty charges on second homes came in in April 2016 and it is expected that these will have a further depressing effect on prices. So what will happen to prices this year? The latest national figures for house prices are for October 2016. Released by the Office for National Statistics, these show that UK prices rose 6.9 per cent in the year to October which was the lowest overall rise since the end of 2015 with the average UK house now costing £217,000. Growth has slowed across all housing sectors with virtually every index now suggesting that the slowdown will continue throughou

The most common online scams to be aware of

It’s 2017 and time to start thinking about new year’s resolutions and changes. And for hackers and scammers, that means resolving to find ever more creative ways to con us out of our hard earned cash. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common online scams – as well as those likely to be popular in 2017. The best way to avoid getting scammed is to educate yourself about the possibilities, and then protect against them. The HMRC scam The first tax payment deadline of the year falls on January 31st and scammers see this as a great opportunity. For most of us, dealing with the taxman is not a pleasant experience. It’s complex, confusing and more often than not results in having to pay more cash than you expected. So, if you get an email apparently from HMRC demanding a payment, you might be tempted to rush to pay it. However, we’d recommend that you think twice before doing this. HMRC does not send out emails demanding cash so check any email you receive very carefu

What will happen to interest rates in 2017

Interest rates have been stuck at record lows for the best part of seven years and there is little prospect that this situation is going to change any time soon. The Bank of England’s bank rate is currently at 0.25 per cent the lowest it has been at in modern times. It cut the rate from 0.5 per cent in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in June when it was widely anticipated that the British economy would fall into recession. But that didn’t happen with growth particularly in the service sector – holding up. The Bank’s governor, Mark Carney, indicated in July that rates were likely to be cut further but that is now looking less likely with rising import costs putting pressure on inflation. Interest rates to rise? Yet despite the fall in the value of sterling since the referendum, Mr Carney has said that it is unlikely that it will be raising rates. He said in October: We re willing to tolerate a bit of an overshoot in inflation over the course of the next few years in order…

Prospects for the UK housing market in 2017

There’s a lot of negative talk about the UK housing market. Not enough homes, very little that’s affordable, and bad conditions for tenants are just some of the complaints. They’re all true, of course – and that’s been rather a depressing thought for homeowners and renters alike. But is 2017 likely to be any different? We’ve looked at the forecasts and policy changes on the horizon and picked out the factors that could change things one way or another next year. The need for new homes UK chancellors haven’t had great success when it comes to housebuilding. However, Philip Hammond has had positive feedback from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors who said his current plan – announced in the Autumn Statement has legs. Next year we will see attempts to unlock land for housing. There will also be a £2.3bn housing infrastructure fund designed to help establish the infrastructure for new homes. Money is also being funnelled into the creation of more affordable hous

‘Tis the season of budgeting for 2017

There’s a sense that everyone is hungry for Christmas this year. What with all the political upheaval and unsettling events, the distraction of twinkly lights, mulled wine and presents is more than welcome. If you want to make sure that this positive goodwill continues into 2017 then focus on any areas of your life that aren’t quite up to scratch. For many of us, that’s budgeting and finances. With our 2017 budgeting tips you can make sure that you start next year as you mean to go on – with a strong plan and focused resolutions. Go on a cash diet There is an argument that many of us overspend when we use plastic but not if we’re paying with cash. It often seems much more real to hand over actual money and that can help you to keep a tighter hold on your finances. If you have trouble with your spending then start the year on a cash diet. Pay for everything in cash and leave your cards at home for the first three months of the year. You’ll be able to reset any unhealthy hab

The 2017 Autumn Statement: effect on your income, spending & taxes

This year has been one of uncertainty for everyone. For 2017, no one yet knows what Brexit will look like, or how the economy will react. However, thanks to the recent Autumn Statement and the policy decisions in it, we do have some clue as to what the next 12 months will look like for us as individuals. Taxpayers From April 2017, the personal allowance (i.e. the tax free part of our income) will go up from £11,000 to £11,500. At the same time the tax free limit on inheritance tax will begin the process of being raised. Currently, inheritance tax kicks in at £325,000 per person. With the new Transferable Main Residence Allowance this will add another £100,000 to the ceiling from April next year. The National Living Wage is also set to rise next year in April. Currently set at £7.20 an hour for those aged 25 or over, from next year it will be £7.50.