Bradford & Bingley made last week’s headlines and was still a dominant topic in the weekend papers, with several articles centred around the buy-to-let market. As reported in the Financial Times, Bradford & Bingley announced that rising mortgage arrears would trigger losses of around £8m in the first four months of this year. It was forced to renegotiate its planned £300m rights issue and sell a 23 per cent stake of the business, as well as repricing its entire range of fixed and variable-rate buy-to-let loans, offered through the subsidiary, Mortgage Express. The Sunday Times offered some tips for buy-to-let borrowers, whilst the Mail on Sunday provided a ‘survival guide’ for B&B customers.
Elsewhere, the Daily Telegraph reported that mortgage lending has fallen to a record low, with the number approved for house purchases halving in the past year. The figure fell from 113,000 in April 2007 to 58,000 in April this year-the lowest number of mortgages given out in a single month since the Bank of England started compiling records in 1993.
Finally, the Guardian and the Times looked at Lloyds TSB throwing Northern Rock borrowers a lifeline. Northern Rock is refusing to renew its fixed-rate deals but an agreement reached between both banks now states that customers who meet the right credit criteria will be invited to apply for a fixed-rate mortgage with Lloyds TSB. Experts suggested that Lloyds TSB will only be interested in those customers with ‘low risk’ profiles.