Love Finance: first-time buyers, fintech and social media

By Teamspirit on Friday, 9 January 2015

What makes us love finance so much this week?
Well, we love that first-time buyers are going strong, and that new technology continues to set financial services new challenges.
Seven-year high for first-time buyer purchases

Halifax have announced that the number of first-time buyers has risen by 22% in the past year, leading to the highest total since 2007. Accounting for 46% of all mortgaged house purchases in 2014, it shows that the affordability of mortgages is improving, which is important in a market where an increasing number of younger adults are questioning their ability to own property.

Loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages have increased in availability, which has lowered the first-time deposit down 7% in the past year. It is still 67% higher than it was in 2007, but it's encouraging to see that potential first-time buyers may not abandon the property market in favour of renting.

We love that first-time buyers are clearly not a shrinking population, and that home ownership will hopefully continue to rise as the next generation view the property market with more optimism than before.
Advisers lacking social media engagement
APFA reports that out of 225 surveyed financial advisers, only 46% of them used social media, and only 21% said they considered it "important" for their business. 48% of the advisers on social media use it to keep up with general industry news.

It's interesting to note how low the adoption rate has been in this particular area of financial services. While social media remains an incredibly powerful engagement tool, the trick appears to be getting advisers to start making use of it.

We love that this data indicates that there's an opportunity to educate financial advisers on the value of social media. While some of them may still be apprehensive about its use due to regulations, the FCA have now released a comprehensive guide to social media use that should steer them in the right direction and raise the number of advisers on Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms.
BMW and Mastercard team up for car-sharing service

Mastercard users are going to benefit from a car-sharing service started in conjunction with auto manufacturer BMW.

Working with Sixt and the DriveNow car-sharing fleet, 2800 BMW and Mini vehicles have become available for use, with billing being automatic and by-the-minute. Users only require a contactless card, making it extremely convenient for them to start using the service.

We love that Mastercard are offering services like this, as the card more of a one-fits-all solution. While gamificiation has led to rewards systems such as air miles, being able to check into a car using contactless is a great example of how tech and financial services can be integrated into one another.
Digital currency Bitcoin hit by hack

Digital currently is vulnerable in a way that traditional currencies aren't - a recent hack has siphoned up to $5.2m, a theft of up to 19,000 Bitcoins (BTC). Targeting Bitstamp, the second-largest exchange for USD-BTC, the hack is not the first to affect the currency.

Digital bank robbery is becoming an increasingly newsworthy issue for those working in financial services, as more and more people become aware of and invest their money in the fledgling Bitcoin. Will banks ever risk engaging with it, or is the potential cost too great?

We love that alternative currencies are getting us to think about the implications of finance becoming increasingly digitised, and that solutions for those using alternative digital currencies will have to spread further in 2015 to accommodate for people who don't mind exchanging to BTC.

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