April 12, 2024

House prices rebound as mortgage rates plummet

Thanks for joining me. House prices increased by 1.1pc last month and by 1.7pc over the course of 2023, according to the latest data from lender Halifax.

The average home was worth £287,105 in December, up more than £3,000 on the previous month.

5 things to start your day 

1) Car market permanently smaller because of WFH and net zero | Industry chiefs do not expect new car sales to ever return to their pre-pandemic peak

2) US warship among vessels attacked in Red Sea | A UK-owned ship was hit by rocket fire, while several other commercial vessels were targeted off the coast of Yemen

3) Crackdown on ‘phantom’ net zero energy projects fails | Queue for grid connection grows even longer after surge in speculative schemes

4) Telegraph can be protected from Abu Dhabi by ‘editorial trust’, claims bidder | Plans to safeguard editorial freedom provide no guarantees, NUJ says

5) Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Fed rate cuts come too late to avert a fresh wave of US bank failures | Further stress in commercial property could push another tier of lenders over the edge

What happened overnight 

Asian shares mostly declined, after a mixed finish on Wall Street, although export-related Tokyo stocks got a boost from a weakening yen.

Benchmarks rose in Tokyo but fell in Sydney, Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The yen has weakened amid speculation that the Bank of Japan might go slowly on changing its lax policy stance as it assesses the impact of Monday’s major earthquake in central Japan.

The US dollar rose to 145.23 Japanese yen from 144.63 yen. The euro fell to $1.0930 from $1.0947. It dropped 0.4pc to 184 to the pound.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.3pc to 33,377.42.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.9pc to 16,490.92, while the Shanghai Composite sank 1pc to 2,926.32.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed nearly 0.1pc to 7,489.10. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.4pc to 2,578.08.

American shares are having a tricky start to the year, with the S&P 500 experiencing its worst new year since 2015 with three consecutive days of decline.

The index lost 0.3pc to end at 4,688.68 points on Thursday, while the Nasdaq Composite index (heavily weighted towards technology companies) lost 0.6pc, closing at 14,510.3. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading US companies was flat at 37,440.34.

The yield on 10-year US Treasury bonds jumped to 4pc in a sharp reversal from last week, when the benchmark note slid to a five-month low of 3.78pc on recent data showing inflation by some measures had declined close to the Fed’s 2pc target.

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