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DAILY POST COMMENT: Shop around for a better mortgage deal.

FIRST-TIME home buyers in North and Mid Wales will have be eyeing yesterday's interest rate rise with a deal of anxiety.

In a region where,like most others, house prices have soared over the last five years, getting a foothold in the property market is not easy for young people.

The problem of course has been compounded by the lure of Wales to the well-heeled from other parts of the country who have snapped up a second home for holiday or investment purposes.

Adding further angst to the equation has been the lack of high-quality jobs available in rural areas. Without these of course, there is no easy route to the decent salaries which fund a hefty mortgage.

First- time buyers though should not push the panic button at yesterday's Bank of England announcement of a quarter of a percentage point rise to 3.75 per cent.

Repayment on a pounds 100,000 mortgage will go up by an average of roughly pounds 20,and first-time buyers who are pushing themselves to the limit may blench at the prospect.

But they should remember that for the vast majority of people,home ownership has been the best and most financially-prudent decision of their lives and one that will benefit millions long into their retirement,and benefit their families beyond that.

Interest rate rises will stabilise rather that deflate house prices and,long term,bricks and mortar will remain an excellent investment.

More rate rises are forecast but the vast proliferation of mortgage lenders in the UK means that competitiveness is assured. There will always be a good deal available for people prepared to look.

People with the sense to seek the best deals and move lenders when they find them, will out- manoeuvre problems posed by small adjustments to the bank rate.

MICHAEL Howard's `coronation' as Iain Duncan Smith's successor is good news for decent people and bad news for the criminals and petty thugs who blight our society.

Howard made all the right noises about `social inclusivity' and `listening' as he set out his leadership stall.

But in his heart he remains the teak-tough Home Secretary whose stance on punishment made dramatic inroads into UK crime figures.

He may profess a more central approach,but if he ever forms a government the yobs and crooks can expect a good old right-wing battering.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 7, 2003
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