House price growth hit a five-year low in January 2019, Land Registry data shows. Its figures revealed that house prices grew 1.7% annually at the start of the year to an average of £228,147 and fell 0.8% on a monthly basis.

The annual figure is down from 2.2% in December 2018 and the lowest rate since June 2013 when growth was at 1.5%. While we have grown accustomed to a slow start in the property market following the Christmas period most commentators agree these figures suggest that the mounting political uncertainty has undoubtedly contributed to the underwhelming low house price growth. Positively some are still expecting a modest spring bounce. This will be aided by pent-up demand from those looking to carry on with business as usual and there could be a flurry in the market once a deal has been done and a decision has been made – regardless of whatever decision that may be. There’s no doubt that a cut to Stamp Duty rates to the middle to top end of the market would be welcome, but Government clearly only has Brexit on the brain.

Ban on exit fees

Regulators say a ban or cap on exit fees would make it easier for investors to switch investment “platforms” – otherwise known as fund supermarkets. The fees, which can amount to hundreds of pounds, effectively tie investors to one provider, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said.

It has proposed a crackdown on these fees so investors can move money more freely. Billions of pounds is invested in retail investments and pensions. A considerable amount of those goes through so-called fund supermarkets, particularly since the financial crisis, so any change to fees would mark a considerable shake-up for the industry. The FCA said that time, complexity and cost made it difficult for investors to switch between providers. Alongside consultation on exit fees, the regulator is seeking views on plans to allow consumers to switch platforms and remain in the same fund without having to sell their investments.

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