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Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 17:48 UK

Property: Green shoots in sight?

House prices
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 18 April 2009 at 1204 BST On Radio 4 and Online

Those working in the property sector desperate for signs of a change in the market are hoping some "green shoots" may finally have been sighted.

New enquiries from buyers have increased for the fifth successive month according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

And the latest figures for mortgage approvals have also shown a slight rise.

So if you have to buy or sell, what price is now realistic? And if you can afford to wait, when is the right time to enter the market?

On Money Box on Saturday, we assess the situation in different parts of the UK and ask Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, if things really are improving.

Further information:

Barclays advice under fire

Barclays headquarters in Canary Wharf
Barclays has promised to fully investigate any complaint

Barclays has been criticised for recommending clients cash in various products and re-invest their money in a single global fund with a "degree of risk".

Some customers have seen their investments halve in value after they followed this advice by Barclays sales staff.

One trade magazine has reported that the fund paid high levels of commission.

But Barclays has said staff remuneration was not linked to the product they sold.

It added that although "market conditions are tough these products are long term investments".

We hear from one angry investor and speak to IFA Richard Davis and Paul Cooper of Claims UK.

Further information:

The future of pensions

A nurse
Can we afford the public sector pensions bill?

European taxpayers face a bill of more than £100m to cover the extra costs of pensions paid to members of the European Parliament, it has emerged.

This has raised again the question of paying good pensions to public sector workers while private companies cut back on pensions for their workers.

The public sector includes millions of people - civil servants, teachers, police, firefighters, health workers and so on.

We debate the issues with the experts.

Further information:

Credit card cheques

Credit card cheques are currently sent unsolicited to customers

The government has recently pledged to bring in a law banning credit card companies from sending out blank cheques to customers who have not asked for them.

Yet state-owned banks are still doing it.

And despite various probes into the market, the number of credit card cheques in circulation is rising.

Samantha Washington reports.

Further information:

Building society ratings

The new rating could deter people looking for a safe place for their money

Nine building societies, including Nationwide, have been downgraded by the ratings agency Moody's Investors Service amid concerns about their exposure to falling house prices and specialist mortgage loans.

Moody's said it had made the downgrades after stress-testing how mutuals would perform after a 40% fall in house prices from the peak of the boom.

We talk to independent banking expert Dr Catherine Smith.

Further information:

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday 18 April at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 19 April at 2102 BST.

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17 Apr 09 |  Moneybox

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