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Chris Myers, survivor of apparent great white shark attack in Truro, hopes to … –

Category : Stocks

Chris Myers, survivor of apparent great white shark attack in Truro, hopes to
By Melissa M. Werthmann, Globe Correspondent Chris Myers said it may be some time before he leaps back into the ocean. He is the man who was bitten in the waters off Ballston Beach in Truro on Monday by what the state's top shark scientist believes was
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City properties now more affordable, but north-south divide persists

Category : Business

Average price for a city home in the UK of £173,202 is 5.5 times gross annual earnings for full time employees, the lowest ratio since 2003

Anyone about to buy an urban property has picked the right time to do it, with housing affordability for city dwellers supposedly at its most favourable in nearly a decade, according to a report.

The average price for a city home in the UK of £173,202 is 5.5 times gross annual average earnings for full time employees, the lowest ratio since 2003, according to the Lloyds TSB Affordable Cities Review.

Disgruntled BBC staff who have recently had to relocate to Salford in line with the corporation’s move may be partially appeased by the news that the city is now the most affordable in the UK, according to the Lloyds’ data. There, the average property price is £102,391, less than four times (3.8) gross average annual earnings. This partly reflects a 32% fall in house prices in this part of Greater Manchester since 2008.

The next most affordable cities are Derry and Bradford, where house prices are just under four times average salaries, followed by Lancaster, Stirling, Belfast and Durham.

However, homebuyers looking in Hull, where residents are used to being the targets of disparaging data, are being given another reason to look elsewhere. The city, which 10 years ago was the second most affordable place to buy in the country, no longer even makes it into the top 10, according to Lloyds TSB. Instead it now ranks 16th. House prices have fallen in the city by 18% in the last five years, just over half the drop in Salford.

“In general with northern cities there has not been the same supply and demand balance that there has in the south,” said Suren Thiru, housing economist at Lloyds TSB. “In the south the number of people looking for properties frequently exceeds supply and this has kept house prices high.”

He added: “Looking forward, the marked improvement in city affordability is likely to help support demand for those able to enter the housing market. Much of this benefit, however, maybe offset by the continuing difficulties many households face in raising a deposit and uncertainty over the outlook for the UK economy.”

Ten years ago, Bradford was the most affordable UK city (with house prices 2.73 times average salary), followed by Hull (2.86) and Durham (3.02). In contrast, Oxford was the least affordable UK city (8.61).

The least affordable cities in the UK, according to Lloyds TSB’s analysis are Truro, Oxford and Winchester. In Truro, the average wage would need to be multipled nearly 10 times to match the average house price of £250,489, where the cost of homes has been ramped up by high earners buying holiday homes.

Commenting on the findings, Sarah Newton, Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth said: “I have met with hundreds of constituents, forced to live in inappropriate and often overcrowded accommodation, who are at the sharp end of Cornwall’s affordable housing crisis. There is only one long term solution to this issue – to be build more affordable housing.”

Perhaps surprisingly, London does not make it into the top 10 least affordable places – partly because salaries are higher in the capital. The City of London (home to bankers and fund managers) is not ranked at all because of an insufficient amount of available data while the City of Westminister makes it into the 14th slot.

“The least affordable cities tend to be in the commuter belt or places where people have second homes,” said Thiru. “Here, house prices can be many times higher than the average local salary.”

Commenting on the Lloyds TSB report, Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at Global Insight said: “The North-South divide in the affordability of City prices is of little surprise and largely reflects the general story in house prices. The decline in house price affordability is clearly good news for people trying to break into the housing market, but it is clearly still very difficult for many first time buyers to get into the housing market in cities given that prices there are still appreciably above the national average.”

Earlier this week the Nationwide building society reported a house price fall of 1% in March, compared with the month before. This was the biggest fall in two years. However, the picture was a mixed one across the country. Of towns and cities, Cambridge rose the most in value on an annual basis, going up by 13% to an average of £319,884, followed by Liverpool (10%, £158,500) and London (9%, £340,439). Belfast recorded the biggest annual fall in house prices, dropping by 15% to £150,738, while Edinburgh properties fell by 6% to an average of £234,091.

NS school boards facing triple whammy: 1.3% budget cuts, told to "absorb" inflation and wage increases

Category : World News

TRURO, NOVA SCOTIA–(Marketwire – Feb. 10, 2012) - The president of CUPE Nova Scotia says the 4,500 school board workers his union represents are very concerned about budget cuts announced by Education Minister Ramona Jennex today.

See the original post here: NS school boards facing triple whammy: 1.3% budget cuts, told to "absorb" inflation and wage increases

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