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.