NEWS: Alarming news for landlords Apart from George Osborne's budget help for first-time buyers, the big news recently has been a sobering report warning that the average UK household will owe close to £10,000 in debts such as personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts by the end of 2016. Are we falling in love with borrowing again, so soon after the credit crunch?

According to a recent report by property analysis firm Hometrack, house prices are continuing to rise — but not just in the south. In fact, the gap between UK cities with the strongest house price growth and those with the weakest has shrunk to its narrowest levels in nearly 16 years, with locations such as Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, Birmingham and Glasgow catching up with London, Oxford and Cambridge. In other news, as inflation hits a new low, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has been explaining why interest rates might not have to go up in the near future ('might not', are the operative words, naturally); and, of course, George Osborne will be delivering his final budget of the parliament on 18 March.

High Speed Compensation? If you own a property in the areas neighbouring the path of the planned High Speed 2 (HS2), you'll doubtless have been concerned about how the scheme might affect the price of your house. Now, however, the government has announced details of compensation schemes which have been long awaited by homeowners and estate agents alike.

As December faded away and the calendar clicked slowly around to 2015 (so long, 2014!), there was a flurry of activity in the property sector. First of all, the Government announced a new starter home initiative, offering 100,000 first-time buyers new homes with a 20% discount; then it was revealed that the annual rise in UK house prices has slowed — yet prices have still gone up faster than the general cost of living. Banks, meanwhile, launched a flurry of mortgage deals fixed for 10 years at record low rates.