The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Look at a house, get a free Mouse?

Scott Malone
- Scott Malone is a Reuters correspondent in Boston.-

Judging by the 52 percent run-up up in the Standard & Poor's home builders index over the past three months, investors have been eager to get their money back into the long-slumping U.S. housing sector.

Home buyers, not so much.

Finding that tax credits for first-time buyers and low mortgage interest rates are not enough to lure in buyers, Los Angeles-based KB Home this weekend will be tossing in another incentive: Come look at one of their model homes this weekend and get a free stuffed Disney character.

For those shoppers willing to make the jump from looking to buying (and financing through the company's mortgage arm) the company will throw in a room decorated in their (or their child's) favorite Disney theme.

Homebuilders in recent weeks have been sounding more confident that the three-year-long slump they have endured -- which kicked off the worst downturn the United States has seen since the Great Depression -- may be leveling off.

The economy: reasons to be miserable


Laurence Copeland- Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Is the crisis over yet?

In the last 3 months, the Dow and the FTSE have each risen by about 25 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 by a third. House prices appear to be stabilising in the UK. Stress-tested and backed by seemingly unlimited government funding, the banks are lending again (if only to each other), so that 1-month libor is down to only 0.3 percent.

A reality check from Standard & Poor’s


REUTERS– Neil Collins is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Standard & Poor’s could have chosen a better day to kick the British economy, by placing the UK onto “negative outlook”, the usual precursor to a downgrade of S&P’s rating of an issuer’s debt.