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  • 35,621 new homes were registered with the National House Building Council (NHBC) in the three months to August 2014, a 6% rise on a year earlier. Registrations fell year on year in London and the South East, while Scotland saw little change relative to a year earlier. The rest of the UK saw improvements relative to a year earlier, with the Midlands seeing particularly healthy rises.
  • The UK ranks 10th in the world for its attractiveness to infrastructure investors, according to Arcadis’ 2014 Global Infrastructure Investment Index. Their team of quantity surveyors rated  41 countries using criteria including government policy, quality of existing infrastructure and availability of debt finance. The UK has risen three places since the last research in 2012, due to an improved financial and taxation environment. Singapore topped the rankings, followed by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.


  • The UK government borrowed £11.6 billion in August, up 6.1% on a year ago. Borrowing for the 2014/15 tax year to date has been 6.2% higher than a year ago, in stark contrast to the 10% reduction required over the full 2014/15 year if George Osborne is to meet targets set out in March of this year. The falls have been in part due to one-off windfalls during the same period of last year from a Swiss tax deal and delayed bonus payments, however weak income tax receipts are also a leading cause. Despite rising employment, the share of these jobs which are part-time or low-paid, an increase in personal tax allowances and weak growth in wages, mean that income tax receipts in 2014/15 to date have actually fallen relative to a year earlier.
  • 41,588 loans for house purchase were approved by British banks in August, the lowest number for 12 months, suggesting purchasing activity in the housing market is beginning to stabilise. Separate figures released by HomeTrack found that asking prices in England and Wales were unchanged in September for the first time in 19 months, also suggesting  that the market is beginning to level off. However it should be noted that recent HomeTrack figures have tended to report slightly lower levels of price gains than estimates by Halifax, Nationwide and the ONS.

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