The weekend money pages covered a number of mortgage-related issues with a very concerned tone. Worries about lending criteria, the credit crunch and soaring interest rates dominated financial features, but many experts offered advice for those who fear recession. The Mail on Sunday reported that as panic sets in, smaller building societies are closing their doors to new applicants because they fear being swamped. Bath Building Society has pulled out of new mortgage lending altogether, whilst other small societies, including Newbury, Melton Mowbray and Tipton and Coseley, have closed their books to all but those customers who live in the immediate vicinity of their branches. In line with these withdrawals, the Times reported that mortgage approvals were down 33 per cent last month against February last year and that Nationwide, Britain’s biggest lender had increased rates on it’s tracker loans by up to 0.57 per cent. In the Observer. homeowners were advised to think about remortgaging up to nine months earlier than they need to in order to grab rates that are likely to increase in the months ahead. Most lenders, including Abbey, Nationwide, Halifax and Woolwich, keep mortgage offers valid for six months, which means anyone needing to remortgage this autumn may be able to reserve a rate with them now. The Sunday Telegraph urged homeowners to act quickly, as rates are not going to improve in the near future. For those looking to sell their property in such a difficult climate, the Sunday Express provided a useful article detailing top tips on making the sale.
What the papers say - 29th and 30th March 2008