Estate agents who are not members of a professional body currently do not have to meet minimum competency standards

First-time buyers would feel more confident when buying a home if estate agents had to pass compulsory tests to show they are up to scratch.

That was one of the findings of a study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors...

THE protesters were back in Syntagma square on May 1st, a disquieting reminder of the pressures facing the nearly one-year-old coalition government as it strives to meet the terms of Greece’s second bail-out. These strains will intensify if the economy remains stuck in recession. So how plausible are sightings of an economic recovery on the h

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LATIN AMERICA, once as riddled with tariff barriers as it is with rivers, mountains and jungles, is about to claim global trade’s starring role. The race to head the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is now down to a Mexican and a Brazilian. Their candidacies highlight a schism that splits the region down the middle.

In terms of competence there is

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Having the posh supermarket nearby is said to raise property prices but what happens when people can't afford to live in an area any more?

What would you rather live next door to: a Waitrose or a Foxtons? It's a bit of a misleading question; the impact of either spreads far beyond the houses next door to them. And if you were talking literally...

THE Federal Reserve has long acknowledged trade-offs in its efforts to revive growth with ultra-easy monetary policy. Now those trade-offs are getting starker. On April 26th America’s economy was reported to have grown by 2.5% on an annualised rate in the first quarter: stupendous by European standards, but less than expected. On April 29th u

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CRIME sometimes pays unusual social dividends. In 2010 São Paulo’s museum of modern art hosted an exhibition of works that had been seized from a variety of crooks and drug traffickers. Some of the art had belonged to the founder of a Brazilian bank, Banco Santos, that had collapsed in 2005. After the bank’s liquidation Edemar Cid Ferreira lost his

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Low on funds after graduating, Katarina Påhlson decided to rent out her flat in Shoreditch for short periods

What's a girl to do when she's fresh out of college and keen to set up her own fashion label, but lacks the funds to do so? It's a question Katarina Påhlson asked herself in early 2012. She'd bought her first flat – with th...

TO REVIVE Japan’s economy Shinzo Abe, its prime minister, has loosed three arrows. Temporary fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reform together make up the strategy known as “Abenomics”. But many reckon there needs to be a fourth dart in the quiver: fiscal consolidation over the longer term to tackle the country’s vast public debt, whi

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While the thought of further price drops in the Spanish property market will send a cold chill up the spine of many, one industry expert claims values must go even lower if the country hopes to turn its fortunes around. Goldman Sachs has warned that real estate prices must decrease by a further ten per cent, despite the fact they have already...

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