PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS

RATE WAR ON £7,500 LOANS
The average interest rate charged on unsecured personal loans of £7,500 has dropped to 7.89 per cent, the lowest level since November 2008, according to a survey by moneysupermarket.com. The fall in rates is thanks to a price war between providers. Tim Moss, head of loans and debts at moneysupermarket.com, said “It is great to see providers creating some healthy competition in the unsecured loans market”. However, according to the same analysis, smaller loans are getting more expensive. The average rate on loans of £3,000 is now 15.12 per cent, an increase of 2.19 per cent on November 2008.

BALANCE TRANSFERS CARRY ON
Over 2.8m credit card holders will shift a total debt of £2.8bn onto new credit cards in 2011, according to new research from Santander. The average balance transfer made by “credit shifters”, of whom there are 2.8m, is £1,015, which is considerably less than the peak of £2,290 at the end of 2008. Despite the fall in the balance transfer size, the research suggests that much of the debt was incurred some time ago – many credit card customers are still paying off debts from Christmas 2009. The research also found that young people are more likely to transfer their credit card balances than old people, with 41 per cent of those aged between 18 and 35 planning to transfer a balance this year.

HOUSE PRICE GAINS IN NORTH WALES
The market town of Conwy in North Wales registered the biggest rise in house prices in the UK in 2010 according to the latest Halifax country house price survey. The average price of a house in Conwy rose by 13 per cent to £162,691 in 2010. After Conwy, East Dunbartonshire and Dumfries and Galloway, both in Scotland, did best, registering increases of 12 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. Of the top twenty performing counties, 10 were in the south of England, while only two were in the North. Surrey remains the most expensive county to buy a house in, with the average property selling for £296,344. The average house costs more than £200,000 in fourteen counties in the UK.

243 UNLUCKIEST DOOR NUMBER
Number 243 is the unluckiest house number in the UK by insurance claims, according to research by Confused.com. The majority of claims – 75 per cent – were for accidental loss and damage in the home, suggesting that number 243 might just be a popular place for a party.