What the papers say – 8th and 9th September 2012

The Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday had news this weekend of Government plans for a large-scale programme of house-building to kick start the dwindling property market and boost the economy. It is set to provide £10billion of loan guarantees to builders, and is pumping a further £280 million into its FirstBuy scheme. Proposals have also been released to relax planning rules, allowing homeowners more scope to add extensions and renovations to their properties. The rising cost of securing a mortgage also attracted headlines, with the Independent and Sunday Telegraph reporting that the average arrangement fee has increased by just over 70% in the last 4 years, to £1,514. Experts said that these fees have nothing to do with the cost of administration but are simply part of the pricing strategy alongside the interest rate. Borrowers are advised to work out the total cost when comparing products. In protection news, the Independent on Sunday looked at the impact of the new EU Gender Directive on insurance. Premiums for life cover and Critical Illness are set to increase significantly for women, so anyone considering taking out cover should do so now, particularly as some providers may not wait for the 21st December deadline to increase their prices. Elsewhere the Mail on Sunday looked at the difficulties faced by borrowers in their 50s and 60s when trying to secure a mortgage that takes them past standard retirement age, while the Times examined products available in the burgeoning Islamic finance market.

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