Data

by Thomas Hale

Fears of an incipient housing bubble in London – and concerns about the UK property sector in general – are soaring as quickly as the prices themselves. But not all bubbles are created equal – especially when it comes to first-time buyers.

How might rising house prices affect first-time buyers? The graph below shows the average UK house price compared to how much of the average take-home pay first-time buyers spend on repayments.

The most striking thing about the graph is the way price correlates so strongly to the stretched nature of first-time buyer households until mid-2009, at which point the two lines start to move in opposite directions. Prices have begun to go up again, but first-time buyers have become consistently less stretched across the UK. Read more

(c) Getty Images

By Henry Foy

Ten things to know about the 48 hour London tube strike that began last night:

1. 3.4m people use the tube every day, according to Transport for London (TFL). Not today they didn’t.

2. The strike is all about jobs. Boris Johnson and TFL, which runs the Tube, wants to close all tube ticket offices by 2015, at a cost of 750 jobs.

3. TFL say the public support the plans. Eighty-two per cent of respondents to their survey backed the move to close ticket offices, it said. But the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, which is taking part in the strike, said a survey it commissioned found 65 per cent of tube users felt industrial action as a last resort was justified.

4. Forty-three stations, or 16 per cent of the total station network, were completely closed on Wednesday morning, TFL said. Read more

Turmoil, panic, retreat: it’s not been a pretty start to the year for emerging market currencies and stock markets. Here, in seven charts, is the story of 2014 so far.

1. The equity context

As the base of the turmoil is the reverse of the post-crisis trend in capital flows, which began last summer on talk of the Fed taper. Money is leaving the emerging markets and returning to Europe. EPFR Global, which tracks investment flows, estimates that emerging market equity outflows hit $12.2bn in January.

 Read more

News that Lloyds has raised to an eye-watering £9.8bn its provisions to cover claims over the mis-selling of payment protection performance (PPI) is a reminder the issue is far from over for UK banks.

The big five high street banks have set aside just under £20bn to date to cover both compensation and the associated administrative costs of assessing claims. Lloyds is by far the worst hit of the major UK banks, but the sums set aside by the others are still substantial.

  Read more

In less than nine months, the Scottish people will vote in a referendum which could see the country break away from the rest of the United Kingdom.

A recent poll conducted by ICM for the Scotland on Sunday newspaper suggests support for independence is on the rise. Should the pro-union Better Together campaign be worried?

Probably not.

No matter what politicians claim regarding the closeness of the race, an FT analysis of the existing polling data shows that the “Yes” and “No” vote have remained relatively constant over the last year, with just over 30 per cent of Scots favouring independence, and 50 per cent wishing to remain within the union. Around 15 per cent are undecided.

 Read more

By Henry Mance

BSkyB and BT have both committed billions of pounds to sports rights over the past two years – as they seek to protect their positions as the UK’s biggest pay-TV provider and biggest broadband operator respectively.

So has either taken a lead?

The long view starts in July 2006, when Sky entered the broadband market.
It was slowly closing the gap on BT, adding about 400,000 more customers that its rival.

However, since the launch of BT Sport last summer, BT has added more broadband users than Sky – the first time in a half-year period since 2007. Read more