Nationwide: UK house prices continue continue to surge in November

House prices in the UK have returned to double-digit growth following a slowdown in the market after the stamp duty holiday came to an end.

Annual house price growth hit 10% in November, according to the Nationwide Building Society.

That was an increase from the 9.9% growth seen the month before.

But Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner said it was still unclear what impact the new Omicron variant would have on a "buoyant" housing market.

The average price of a UK house was £252,687 in November - nearly 15% higher than March 2020, when the coronavirus crisis started.


 
Budget 2021: £2bn for new homes on derelict or unused land

Almost £2bn will be invested by the government into building new homes on derelict or unused land in England, the chancellor is expected to announce in Wednesday's Budget.

The government said 160,000 greener homes could be built on brownfield land the size of 2,000 football pitches.

It also pledged to invest £9m towards 100 urban "pocket parks" across the UK.

However, concerns have been raised that not enough affordable homes are being built.

Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal and General, told the BBC's Today programme the £1.8bn investment was the "right direction of travel", but was "not enough scale right now".

He warned people living in smaller cities and towns were being "left behind" due to not enough homes being constructed.


Pandemic has changed travel forever, says AirBnB boss

The way people travel has been changed forever by the pandemic, the boss of lodging platform AirBnb has said.

Brian Chesky told the BBC the lines between business and leisure travel are increasingly blurring thanks to remote working patterns.

And he said people are opting for longer breaks with family and friends as they seek more "human connection".

"I think that what we're seeing today is an entire revolution in how we're travelling," Mr Chesky said.

"We used to live in one place - our house - go to another place - the office - and travel to a third place. And now all three of those places are converged," he added.

"All we have to believe is that employers aren't going to force all people to come back to the office five days a week to know that everything has changed forever."


Inflation to remain higher for two years, warns OECD

Prices in the G20 group of major economies will grow faster than pre-pandemic for at least two years, a leading global agency has forecast.

Higher commodity prices and shipping costs are pushing up inflation, Paris-based policy forum the OECD said.

The UK is expected to have inflation running at about 3% at the end of 2022, the highest rate of the advanced economies, the OECD said.

By contrast, inflation is expected to fall in the US, France, and Germany.

Inflation has picked up around the world due to higher costs of raw materials, constraints on the supply of goods, stronger consumer demand as economies reopen, and prices bouncing back from drops during the pandemic in some sectors, it said.

A sharp rebound in consumer demand coupled with supply disruptions and depleted stores of goods have pushed up prices and shipping costs around the world.

 

Persistent supply shortages could lead to a longer period of higher inflation, the OECD said.

The OECD expects the rate of inflation in the G20 to moderate from 4.5% at the end of 2021 to 3.5% by the end of 2022.

However, the OECD said that "sizeable uncertainty remains" about this forecast.


Remove green levies to cut energy bills

The UK government should cut rising energy bills by getting rid of levies that subsidise renewable energy, the boss of E.On UK has said.

Speaking to the Financial TimesMichael Lewis said green subsidies should be funded through tax instead.

Regulators have warned that consumer energy bills will be hit by soaring prices of fossil fuels globally.

Wholesale energy prices rose on Thursday after a key electricity cable between Britain and France shut down.

Mr Lewis said: "This is going to be a very challenging winter for customers and for suppliers and there is a real short-term imperative to do what we can to help consumers."

Green levies account for around a quarter of energy bills, he said.

 

Mr Lewis recommended removing green levies and paying for subsidies through general taxation, "so these costs are funded more progressively and we level the playing field on the cost of cleaner heating."

"Then we can also start to apply something like a carbon tax on gas on a 'polluter pays' principle," he added.

A government spokesperson said: "Our energy price cap will protect millions of customers this winter from sudden increases in global gas prices.

"Millions of low-income households will also benefit from a £140 discount on their bills, with added support offered to pensioners and the most vulnerable over the colder months."


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