Weekly Round-Up: 16th November 2018

Time to become fixated?

RooftopsAccording to the latest statistics from UK Finance, overall remortgaging for both residential and buy-to-let properties have levelled out after a period of strong growth. This reflects the number of fixed rate loans reaching maturity. Buy-to-let home purchases have eased again in September, suggesting lending in this market remains subdued as a result of recent tax, regulatory and legislative changes. Demand for house purchases for both first-time buyers and homemovers has also lessened, as affordability constraints continue to bear down on consumer demand for new loans particularly in London and the South East.

The number of first time buyers was 29,400 in September, 4.5 per cent fewer than in the same month a year earlier. However the £5.0bn of new lending in the month was the same year-on-year. The average first-time buyer is 30 and has a gross household income of £42,000.  Those looking to remortgage totalled 35,600 0.6 per cent fewer than in the same month a year earlier. The £6.4bn of remortgaging in the month was 1.5 per cent down year-on-year.

For landlords, purchase numbers fell by almost 20% at 5,200 however at 12,300 new buy-to-let remortgages completed in the month, the number of people looking to secure a new deal remained relatively flat.

Pay your way

mobile bankingFour in ten (40 per cent) Brits know a ‘shirker’ – the friend who has to take the ‘very important phone call’ when the bill arrives. And a third (33 per cent) have fallen out with a pal because of their stingy ways, with one in eight (14 per cent) holding a grudge for a year or more. 51 per cent think ‘shirking’ is one of the most unappealing traits a friend can have, and mates who are tardy with paying back money are considered more annoying (33 per cent) than those who are always on their mobile on nights out (27 per cent) or constantly taking selfies (8 per cent).

The research from Pingit – the app that allows for fast, easy payments and bill-splitting with just a mobile number – comes just in time for the party season. The findings reveal that so-called shirking, or the avoidance of paying your fair share of the bill, is taking a toll on our wallets, too: Over half (54 per cent) of Brits claim they have lent money to pals, never to see it again, and on average, they’re down £74 over the past 12 months due to their frugal friends.

Whilst Brits are happy to let go an average debt of £24, it only takes an extra £3 for friendships to sour – friends get moody when ‘forgotten’ funds hit £27. As a consequence, nearly four in 10 (38 per cent) have avoided nights out with friends who never pay their share, whilst 13 per cent have ended a friendship altogether – all of this despite 50 per cent having been called out for shirking themselves.

Health in the Workplace

Doctors Office70% of employees say they don’t believe that employee mental wellbeing and musculoskeletal issues are taken seriously enough in the workplace, according to the results of a poll carried out recently by Health Cash Plan provider, Health Shield. 2 in 3 say that their business does not provide access to tailored support for mental health or musculoskeletal conditions and only a third have access to a 24/7 helpline to help look after their mental and physical wellbeing.

36% said that when they suffered from a musculoskeletal problem, it contributed to an increase in anxiety and 90% said they’d feel better knowing there was a clear treatment pathway available to help manage a mental health or musculoskeletal issue.

This comes at a time when the UK government is starting to shape policy around the way in which companies could and should be supporting employees with mental health and musculoskeletal issues. It represents part of a wider government objective to get more disabled people into work. In addition to seeking feedback from employers on what good practice looks like, government recommendations were recently published to ensure that companies report on equality of reward and recognition by April 2020.

Appy days

PhoneAlmost two thirds of Brits now enjoy using apps to save time (62 per cent) and almost a quarter to save money (24 per cent) when completing everyday activities such as shopping, banking and booking travel. However, one in six say they feel they are missing out on the full benefits of apps due to a lack of confidence and knowledge. Most surprisingly more than one in ten Millennials (25 – 34), usually considered the tech-savvy generation, said this was a key barrier to using apps to help with everyday tasks, according to NatWest research.

When it comes to banking, while more than two thirds of 18-44 year olds have used a banking app, the results show that more could be done to raise awareness of the security measures available, such as remote app locking. More than half of those who haven’t accessed banking through an app said their main concern was over the security of their bank details should their phone be stolen. While more than one in ten non-users (11 per cent) said they would use a banking app if they could get help from a professional in setting it up.

The research shows that once people feel comfortable using digital services, they really benefit and see the positives of saving time and money.  But for those who aren’t so familiar with digital services, it can be harder to take that first step.

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