What the papers say - 12th March 2008

Mortgage-related articles in the national press were mainly in relation to today’s Budget. The Daily Mirror asked for the Chancellor to reduce the threshold at which stamp duty kicks in- from £125,000 to at least £200,000. The plea comes as new research from the Halifax showed that first-time buyers paid an average of £1,750 in stamp duty last year- nearly double the £960 paid in 2002. In line with the current economic climate, the Times reported that the number of mortgages taken out by homebuyers fell by 19 per cent in January , 34 per cent less than in January last year. It stated that the average proportion of a property’s value being borrowed by first-time buyers fell to 88 per cent during January, down from 90 per cent in December. To add to this gloom, the average rate on a two-year fixed-rate mortgage for borrowers with a 5 per cent deposit rose 0.13 percentage points to 6.55 per cent in February, even though the base rate was cut from 5.5 per cent to 5.25 per cent, figures published yesterday by the Bank of England show.

For those who are still confident enough to buy at the moment, the Daily Mail looked at escaping the ‘mortgage minefield’ by comparing a number of mortgage deals on different-sized loans. It advised borrowers to weigh up the overall costs of a new mortgage and to include any arrangement, legal and valuation fees in their calculations.

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