Interest rate rise of 1% would cost average UK homeowner £930 a year

A Bank of England rate change would add £10bn to UK mortgage bill, Savills says

A 1% rise in interest rates would add around £10bn to the UK’s mortgage bill, according to analysis from estate agent Savills.

The increase would equate to adding £930 a year to the cost of servicing the average mortgage. Borrowers on variable rate deals influenced by movements in the Bank of England base rate would be the first to feel the pain, putting the annual mortgage bill up by £4.3bn immediately, Savills said.

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Time to spend your old tenners – just three shopping days left

200m £10 notes are still in circulation with £1bn likely to miss 1 March deadline, says Bank of England

The cut-off date for using old-style paper £10 notes is fast approaching, with just three shopping days left before the Thursday 1March deadline when they cease to be legal tender.

But figures from the Bank of England suggest there remain about 200m tenners worth £2bn still in circulation.

Related: The old £10 note: £2bn worth must be spent in a few days

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Mapping The Top Tourist Attraction In Every Country

Even as early as a decade ago, if you were backpacking in a foreign place, Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins remembers that it was not uncommon to rely on the wisdom printed in travel guides such as Lonely Planet or Rick Steves to choose your day-to-day activities.

“Go off the beaten path to see this secluded black sand beach that’s only used by locals.”

“See this historic city tour, because it’s a hidden treasure that you won’t find in any other guidebook.”

Tips like these felt like secrets only privy to you and other smart readers – and while you were sitting on that hidden black sand beach, you could revel in the fact that the rest of the travelling masses were stuck in a two-hour line to get into some silly tourist trap.

For better or worse, things are now very different.

THE CROWDSOURCED ERA

Today’s infographic comes to us from Vouchercloud, and it shows the top rated “Thing to Do” for every single country in the world, according to Tripadvisor reviews.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

In other words, the list is based on the amalgamation of millions of reviews from fellow travelers that have experienced these sights or activities first-hand.

On the upside, these reviews are coming from your peers. People just like you have rated all of the attractions in an area – from tourist trap to hidden gem – and the end result is pretty fair and democratic.

But this democratic component also has a downside. In the United Kingdom, for example, the highest rated activity is not seeing Big Ben, Ancient Roman baths, Stonehenge, or the Churchill War Rooms – it’s the Harry Potter Studio Tour, with 32,000+ reviews and 83% of reviewers giving it a perfect 5-star rating.

While the Harry Potter tour is obviously a popular attraction, it’s not likely representative of the type of attractions that old school travel critics may have raved about in their travel books.

TOP THINGS TO DO

In the map, the top tourist destinations are broken down based on the type of attraction.

Here’s the mix of top destinations for the 197 countries and jurisdictions included in the analysis:

The top category of attraction is natural (38.6%), which includes places like Canada’s Niagara Falls or Norway’s Geiranger Fjord. Meanwhile, historic attractions like China’s Great Wall made up 27.4% of the total, and places of religious significance such as Thailand’s Temple of the Reclining Buddha were the top tourist attraction for 14.7% of the countries.

The remaining category, called “Tourist” includes a much wider variety of destinations within it.

These attractions range from Central Park in the New York City to the aforementioned Harry Potter Studio Tours in the United Kingdom. The wide category also includes museums like France’s Musee d’Orsay, which holds a staggering collection of impressionist art, as well as Germany’s Miniatur Wunderland, which is a massive miniature railroad in Hamburg.

“Never Seen Such A Large Crowd”: Record Numbers Flock To Florida Gun Show After Shooting;

A record number of firearms enthusiasts made their way to the Florida State Fairgrounds this weekend to attend the Florida Gun Show, amid a fierce national debate over gun rights following the Valentine’s Day massacre at Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida. 

Organizers say almost 7,000 people attended on Saturday, with Sunday’s tally expected to be higher. Organizer Steve Fernandez said they’ve never seen such a large crowd – however it’s possible that the cancellation of next month’s show in Fort Lauderdale may have attracted concerned citizens. 

Somewhat ironically, this was to be expected considering the massive effort by gun control advocates to erode as much of the Second Amendment as they can in the wake of the Parkland shooting – never letting a crisis go to waste and all that. President Trump’s recent advocacy for more stringent background checks, a 10-day waiting period and raising the age limit on the purchase of guns following the Parkland shooting likely fueled concerns over a “slippery slope” of firearms legislation.

Florida lawmakers such as Senator Bill Nelson (D) have called for stricter laws to fix the so-called “gun show loophole” which allows people to purchase firearms without a background check. While federally licensed vendors at a gun show are still required to run background checks (FFL), private sellers without a federal license do not have the same requirement in 40 states. (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington all require private sellers to conduct background checks). 

“Some of the people attending are afraid that future legislation will impact their gun ownership rights,” said Fernandez. That said, 95% of the vendors at this weekend’s Florida Gun Show are required to run background checks since they are licensed dealers. 

Also of note, suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz passed a background check before legally purchasing a semiautomatic AR-15 style rifle.

“This was a mental health issue. This is someone who should have been identified from the beginning by law enforcement,” says Fernandez.

In any event, google searches for both “buy a gun“, “buy AR15″, as well as “second amendment” just hit all time highs.

Interest in firearms ownership also spiked following President Obama’s 2008 election – as a flurry of “gun control” headlines resulted in a flood of purchases – as evidenced by number of FBI background checks conducted following the 2008 election – a phenomenon which spiked after every mass shooting or act of domestic terrorism:

Indeed, Obama was jokingly referred to as the “best gun salesman in America,” with 52,600 weapons sold daily under his administration as of June 2016.

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Wall St. pushes back

Following the Parkland massacre, over a dozen major companies cut ties with the NRA, including Delta, Hertz and MetLife. Wall St. is no exception. In addition to Bank of America “reexamining relationships with clients who make AR-15s,” Blackrock – the world’s largest money manager – and the largest shareholder in gunmakers in Sturm Ruger & Company and American Outdoor Brands (Smith & Wesson) said it will speak with both manufacturers  about their response to the Florida shooting. 

Gunmakers may also come under pressure from pensions – such as Florida’s state pension, which holds shares of American Outdoor Brands. As Bloomberg put it, “as Florida teachers grieve over the mass shooting that left 17 students and colleagues dead last week, some of them may be surprised to learn they’ve been helping fund the firearms industry—including the company that made the gun used that bloody Wednesday.”

Investment giant Blackstone Group, LP asked outside fund managers at a dozen hedge funds to detail their ownership in companies that make or sell guns, requesting answers by Sunday night – a one day turnaround. 

Perhaps this explains why both shares in Ruger (RGR) and American Outdoor Brands (ABOC) have remained depressed in light of the predictable bump in sales which correspond with the renewed debate over gun control.

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For reference, American Outdoor Brands and Ruger are down roughly -7% and -5% YTD respectively, while the S&P 500 is up 5.64%. 

Meanwhile, guns are flying off the shelves…